Gulf countries are set to create more jobs in 2015 despite the ongoing oil price slide, according to a report by recruitment portal GulfTalent.
The report is based on an online survey of 600 employers and 22,000 professionals, as well as 60 interviews with executives and HR professionals, conducted during the period December 2014 to April 2015.
Healthcare was found to be the fastest growing sector in the Gulf with 79 per cent of employers planning to raise their headcount this year. Almost 82 per cent of the firms within the sector hired in 2014, the report noted.
Key drivers of this growth were found to be massive government investment, the region’s fast-growing population and regulatory changes in most GCC countries requiring companies to provide health insurance for employees.
Among Gulf countries, Qatar is expected to create the most number of jobs in preparation for the World Cup in 2022. With most of the infrastructure contracts for the mega event now being awarded, almost 68 per cent of employers are looking to hire in the country, the report said.
GulfTalent’s research also indicated that although the dropping oil price has had an impact on the regional economy, it is yet to trickle down to hiring prospects.
In addition, private sector salary levels in the Gulf countries are anticipated to grow in 2015, the report found.
Qatar is expected to see the highest average pay increase at 8.3 per cent, mainly driven by the rising cost of living and the growing need to attract talent for completion of projects.
Employers in Oman are forecast to give the second highest average pay rise at 7.2 per cent.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE follow closely with average pay rises of 7.1 per cent, while average remuneration is expected to grow by seven per cent in Bahrain.
Kuwait is expected to see the lowest average pay rise at five per cent.
Among sectors, construction is forecast to have the highest average salary increase at 10 per cent, while the oil & gas sector is expected to see the lowest hike at 5.4 per cent.
The survey also found that employers across the GCC are also facing a shortage of expat talent as many of their traditional source markets such as India have dried up due to better domestic prospects.
Despite an influx of talent from other Middle East countries affected by political turmoil, GCC countries’ restrictions in employing them have dampened the scope of hiring, it stated.