GCC job creation surges 7.7% in first quarter of 2022

The region is expected to have a 'very positive' employment year, driven by the public, legal, banking, advisory, real estate and cloud sectors, report finds

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The GCC recorded a 7.7 per cent increase in job creation in the first quarter of 2022, up from 2 per cent in the previous quarter, driven by hiring in the public, legal, banking, advisory, real estate and cloud sectors, according to a new report.

The 2 per cent increase in job creation in the fourth quarter of 2021 was a reflection of the market during the holiday period, recruitment specialist Cooper Fitch said in its Gulf Employment Index report, which monitors new job activity and employment trends.

“The GCC looks set for a very positive employment year in 2022, with each country focused on delivering against their medium- and long-term strategies around job creation,” Trefor Murphy, founder and chief executive of Cooper Fitch, said in the report on Monday.

“We are forecasting high single-digit growth across each of the Gulf countries for the year ahead.”

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

About 76 per cent of employers in the UAE plan to expand their workforce in 2022, a February survey by jobs portal Bayt.com and market research company YouGov found.

About two thirds of professionals in the UAE will look for new jobs in the first half of this year as business confidence and hiring activity return to pre-pandemic levels, recruitment company Robert Walters said.

Industries in the GCC that recorded the biggest increase in hiring in the first quarter of 2022 included advisory, the public sector, real estate, legal, banking, software development, cyber security and digital marketing, the Cooper Fitch report found.

“Advisory firms were busier this quarter, with a 14 per cent increase in jobs on the last quarter due to it being the start of the year and a higher amount of spending coming from the public sector across advisory, consulting and strategy,” it said.

“The public sector increased its investment across multiple industries, which has led to an all-time high in hiring across government entities with a 9 per cent increase in jobs in the first quarter of 2022 compared with the fourth quarter of 2021.”

Meanwhile, the GCC also recorded growth in the number of jobs related to environment, social and governance (ESG), digital transformation and real estate in the three months to the end of March, the report found.

There was a 17 per cent increase in the number of cloud-related jobs across the Gulf region in the first quarter, the recruitment consultancy said.

The GCC also reported a 9 per cent increase in cyber security jobs in the first quarter, “which will continue due to the upcoming football World Cup in Qatar and the rapid development of smart cities in Saudi Arabia”, according to Cooper Fitch.

“There is a big push for software engineers for in-house teams as many businesses are reaching the next stage of their tech maturity model, where they are no longer relying on external companies for their development needs but instead on in-house teams,” Mr Murphy said.

The GCC banking sector recorded a 14 per cent increase in job activity in the first quarter compared with the fourth quarter of 2021, the report found.

“We expect this to continue this year as a number of banks in the region have made announcements regarding a huge increase in hiring,” Mr Murphy said.

The increase in mergers and acquisitions activity in the GCC is leading to an increase in demand for lawyers who specialise in those activities, Cooper Fitch said.

“Due to salary increases at the end of Q4 2021, newly qualified associates are now being paid higher than before. This will be the biggest cost increase for companies as they look to ensure they can retain the best junior talent.”

Quote
There is a big push for software engineers for in-house teams as many businesses are reaching the next stage of their tech maturity model
Trefor Murphy, founder and chief executive of Cooper Fitch

Legal jobs in the private sector increased by 18 per cent in the first quarter, while in-house legal jobs were up by 13 per cent, Cooper Fitch said.

Meanwhile, a high number of initial public offerings in the region resulted in 3 per cent growth in job creation for investment managers in the first quarter.

High growth sectors in the GCC for jobs in 2022

  • Advisory
  • Public sector
  • Real estate
  • Legal
  • Banking
  • Software development
  • Cyber security
  • Digital marketing
  • Cloud computing
Updated: April 11, 2022, 10:30 AM
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