Jobs in UAE and Saudi Arabia: hiring activity in GCC to strengthen in 2022

Digital and cyber roles will drive jobs growth across the GCC this year, new report by Cooper Fitch finds

Jobs in digital and cyber security will boost hiring activity in the GCC in 2022.
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New jobs growth across the GCC region will continue to strengthen in 2022, driven by sectors such as cyber security, digital, real estate and banking, according to a new report by recruitment specialist Cooper Fitch.

Job creation in the region surged 18.3 per cent in the third quarter of last year, while growth in the fourth quarter edged up 2 per cent in a reflection of the market during the holiday period, Cooper Fitch said in its Gulf Employment Index report on Monday.

However, the GCC could be set for a positive hiring year in 2022, Cooper Fitch said in the report that monitors new job activity and employment trends in the region.

“Each country [is] focused on delivering against their medium and long-term strategies around job creation. We are forecasting high single digit growth of 7 per cent to 8 per cent across each of the Gulf countries for the year ahead,” Trefor Murphy, founder and chief executive of Cooper Fitch, said.

The jobs market in the UAE, the second-largest Arab economy, has made a strong recovery from the coronavirus-induced slowdown on the back of the government’s fiscal and monetary measures.

About 43 per cent of businesses in the UAE plan to increase salaries this year by an average of 3 per cent as the job market and economy improve on the back of Expo 2020 Dubai and the government’s positive handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, Cooper Fitch said in its 2022 salary guide in December.

About 90 per cent of working professionals in the Middle East and North Africa felt optimistic about 2022 as job prospects and optimism in the labour market improve on the back of economic growth, a survey by jobs portal Bayt.com in December found.

A separate report by Mercer in November found that employers in the UAE will go on a hiring spree in 2022 and raise salaries by an average of 3.6 per cent as demand for jobs picks up amid the country’s post-coronavirus economic recovery.

“It is important to note that the Gulf economy looks to have fully recovered in H2 of 2021, back to pre Covid-19 levels,” Mr Murphy said.

“This was significantly helped by oil prices rising and production increasing, travel restrictions easing and, in turn, job opportunities growing.”

Meanwhile, industries in the GCC that recorded the biggest increase in hiring in the fourth quarter of 2021 included real estate, the public sector, software development, cyber security and sales and marketing, the employment index report found.

“Economic indicators look positive, with the International Monetary Fund forecasting the economic recovery for the Middle East to accelerate to 4.3 per cent in 2022, after initial estimates … were revised,” Mr Murphy said.

“At the current levels of job creation, we may see the employment market reflecting or even outperforming these economic predictions.”

High growth sectors in the GCC for jobs in 2022

  • New tech
  • Cyber security
  • Sales & marketing
  • Software development
  • Legal
  • Banking
  • Consulting
  • Investment M&A
  • Real estate

Medium growth sectors in the GCC for jobs in 2022

  • Public sector
  • Advisory
  • HR
  • Finance
  • Supply chain
  • Manufacturing
Updated: February 09, 2022, 4:51 AM
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