GCC job creation surges in third quarter of 2022

Technology, consulting, legal and finance industries account for the majority of hiring activity in the region, says Cooper Fitch report

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Hiring activity surged in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE in the third quarter of this year on the back of major project announcements and the Fifa World Cup, according to a report by recruitment consultancy Cooper Fitch.

Saudi Arabia recorded a 14 per cent increase in new jobs in the three months to September 30, driven by growth in sectors such as manufacturing, sales and marketing, and investment, as well as a sharp rise in the number of organisations establishing new activities in the kingdom, the report said.

Qatar registered a 7 per cent increase in new jobs, compared with the previous quarter, spurred by the 2022 World Cup and an influx of international corporations and talent looking to meet demand before, during and after the global football event.


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Hiring activity in the UAE jumped 3 per cent in the third quarter. The UAE and Oman are exploring investment opportunities worth more than $8 billion, which is also expected to bring new job opportunities to the region.

“As we enter the fourth quarter of 2022, the GCC looks set for a very strong end to the year with all sectors continuing to register high levels of activity,” said Trefor Murphy, founder and chief executive of Cooper Fitch.

“As each country focuses on delivering against its medium and long-term job creation strategies, we anticipate mid to high single-digit growth across the Gulf during the remainder of the year.”

The jobs market in the region is continuing to recover in 2022 as business confidence and hiring activity return to pre-coronavirus levels.

The UAE jobs market has made a strong recovery from the pandemic-induced slowdown, helped by the government’s fiscal and monetary measures.

Seven in 10 UAE companies plan to hire new employees next year, according to a survey last month by jobs portal Bayt.com and market research company YouGov.

Sixty-three per cent of large local companies and multinational corporations in the Mena region are among those that have the highest intention of hiring in the next three months, the research found.

Meanwhile, an overwhelming 86 per cent of working professionals in the UAE have a positive career outlook for 2023, a separate survey last week by Bayt.com and YouGov found.

The technology sector in the Gulf recorded an “impressive increase” in new job activity during the third quarter, with an 11 per cent sharp rise in software development roles and a 7 per cent rise in cyber security positions, according to Cooper Fitch.

“Demand for expertise across cloud, digital and cyber-based roles also rose sharply thanks to new projects greenlit as part of Saudi Vision 2030,” the report said.

“Experienced consultants with the talent necessary to bring projects to completion have remained in high demand, while the launch of digital banks and new government authorities drove significant movement among executive-level professionals.”

The sales and marketing sector also recorded a 7 per cent rise in job activity, with strong demand registered across manufacturing and retail segments, according to the consultancy.

Saudi citizens with technical sales, corporate communications and marketing experience are particularly sought after, it said.

The kingdom’s industrial sector is also growing rapidly, with many organisations already developing strategies that will enable them to meet their 2023 talent requirements, the research found.

Public sector recruitment in the Gulf region recorded an increase of 8 per cent in the third quarter, with energy, tourism and culture, and economic zones leading the charge for new talent.

“We also witnessed a rise in the activity of executive level mandates, particularly among newly established organisations and those transforming or restructuring,” Mr Murphy said.

There was a 10 per cent surge in job activity in the Gulf strategy industry, with consultancies seeking to fill senior public sector positions in the fields of transport and energy.

Consulting profiles are becoming increasingly competitive, Cooper Fitch said.

In the legal sector, and especially within private practice, the third quarter recorded an 11 per cent rise in the number of new jobs despite the summer period.

“Project finance, project development, corporate and commercial, international arbitration and construction roles are expected to remain in high demand across the region throughout the final quarter of the year,” the research said.

Cooper Fitch also noted an increase of 5 per cent in new jobs in the investment market, fuelled by increasing activity in the initial public offering and mergers and acquisition industry, investments in power and renewables and the launch of numerous funds across the region.


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The finance industry in the Gulf recorded an 8 per cent increase in senior job activity, with chief financial officer roles in high demand.

“Advisory companies’ efforts to strengthen and expand their finance teams resulted in strong performance and growth throughout the Gulf,” Cooper Fitch said.

Updated: October 17, 2022, 9:06 AM