Saudi Arabia is expected to create the highest number of jobs in the Gulf region in 2012, due to high economic growth and government spending, according to a new survey released by GulfTalent.com.
The survey found that 77 per cent of Saudi firms are planning to hire new employees this year, compared to 62 per cent in 2011.
Employees in the Kingdom, along with those in Qatar, are also expected to witness the highest salary hikes in the region, the survey said.
However, the UAE ranked as the most popular destination among Gulf-based expatriates, with Dubai being cited as the most attractive city.
Qatar came in second place in terms of popularity with expatriates, and was followed by Saudi Arabia.
“The study also shows that, as a result of Western countries facing high unemployment and low pay rises, employers in the Gulf are finding it easier to hire Western nationals rather than Asian candidates,” GulfTalent said a in a statement.
“However, according to interview findings, some employers are facing difficulty attracting Western candidates because they perceive the region to be unsafe, following widespread media coverage of the Arab Spring,” GulfTalent added.
The survey also found that regional governments have started prioritising nationalisation of jobs and in some countries, they have introduced schemes such as higher visa charges and increased government fees for hiring expatriates.