New jobs growth in GCC set to rise by up to 5% this year

Industries that recorded biggest increase in hiring in second quarter include public sector, property, cyber security, and sales and marketing, Cooper Fitch report says

There was a 7 per cent increase for cyber security jobs in the GCC in the second quarter of this year, a report by Cooper Fitch found
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New jobs growth across the GCC region is expected to increase from 3 per cent to 5 per cent this year after slowing in the second quarter, a new report by recruitment specialist Cooper Fitch has found.

Job creation in the region decreased by 3 per cent in the second quarter, compared with 2 per cent growth in the preceding quarter, in a reflection of the market during the holiday period, Cooper Fitch said in its Gulf Employment Index report on Monday.

“It’s not a negative impact on the Gulf jobs market, as this was anticipated as organisations experienced a slower start to the quarter due to Ramadan and then two Eid holidays coupled with the start of the summer months,” Cooper Fitch said in the report, which monitors new job activity and employment trends in the region.

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Salaries across the GCC region are expected to rise by an average of 5 per cent this year amid a buoyant hiring market driven by strong market confidence and a boost in investments, recruitment specialist Hays Middle East said in its GCC salary report.

Technology remains the GCC’s most active industry sector for hiring, with 77 per cent of organisations increasing their headcount last year, Hays said.

Industries in the GCC that recorded the biggest increase in hiring in the second quarter included the public sector, property, cyber security, digital, data, artificial intelligence, and sales and marketing, the Cooper Fitch employment index report found.

New jobs growth for GCC public sector roles soared 12 per cent compared with the first quarter, while demand increased for highly specialised international subject matter experts, the research found.

The GCC recorded an 8 per cent increase in the number of new positions in the sales and marketing sector, driven by demand for digital marketing, e-commerce and customer relationship specialists, as companies try to boost their online presence by creating engaging content and implementing effective digital marketing strategies, the report said.

Real estate jobs in the GCC registered an increase of 8 per cent in the second quarter, the Cooper Fitch study found.

There has also been a rise in recruitment activity for project delivery and controls roles, along with a continued demand for professionals with asset and facilities management experience.

The consultancy expects an increase in roles from Abu Dhabi government sectors, including power and water utilities.

Similarly, there was a 7 per cent increase in the second quarter for cyber security jobs in the GCC due to the high number of security breaches globally, according to Cooper Fitch.

“Currently there is a lack of professionals with expertise in threat assessment, digital forensics and incident response, making hiring a challenge,” the consultancy said.

“After the global technology layoffs at the end of 2022, other sectors have shown improvements such as digital, data and AI, which saw a rise in quarter two with local governments pushing for the digitisation of services and processes, creating a need for data-driven insights and employment opportunities.”

The demand for HR professionals in the GCC grew by 4 per cent, with significant increase in interest in HR advisory solutions around benchmarking and compensations and benefits, and talent acquisition and talent management professionals who have expertise in diversity, equity and inclusion, Cooper Fitch found.

The Gulf finance market had a positive second quarter, with an increase in vacancies in both senior finance at 7 per cent and finance at 4 per cent.

There has been a notable increase in activity from companies across oil and gas, manufacturing and transport looking for job seekers to fill a range of finance positions, the report said.

“Profiles with traditional finance expertise are more desirable to organisations if they have project finance or investment appraisal experience as they expand their operations,” it added.

Banking and financial services recorded a 3 per cent increase in new jobs in the second quarter.

“There is strong interest from overseas senior bankers to move to the GCC, this includes private, investment and corporate banking,” Cooper Fitch said.

“There has also been an influx of new financial services organisations coming to the region.”

Updated: July 10, 2023, 10:43 AM