Middle East jobs market more competitive in 2024, survey finds

An influx of talent to the region has increased demand for roles, Bayt.com says

Job seekers need to equip themselves with relevant skills to stand out from the competition, said Bayt.com. Getty Images
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About 73 per cent of working professionals in the Middle East believe the jobs market has become significantly more competitive in 2024 as an influx of talent to the region has increased demand for roles, a survey by jobs portal Bayt.com has found.

Of those surveyed, 62 per cent said they were also willing to relocate anywhere to accelerate their career prospects, according to the Bayt.com's Middle East Career Insights Poll 2023, which interviewed 2,271 employees from more than 15 countries, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

However, 21.5 per cent of respondents said they would only be willing to relocate within the Middle East, while 12.2 per cent would consider moving for exceptional opportunities, the survey found.

“Job seekers need to equip themselves with relevant skills and stand out from the competition to secure lucrative career opportunities,” said Ola Haddad, director of human resources at Bayt.com.

The jobs market in the UAE, the Arab world’s second-largest economy, has recovered from the Covid-19 pandemic, thanks largely to fiscal and social measures introduced by the government to attract skilled workers and incentivise companies to set up or expand their operations.

The Emirates is undergoing a shift to an employers’ market, with more people moving to the UAE due to the luxury lifestyle and economic headwinds in other countries, recruitment consultancy Robert Half said in its 2024 Salary Guide report.

With an influx of talent flooding the region and more competition for roles, candidates are willing to accept lower packages to give themselves a foothold in the Middle East, which brings down the overall market rate and restricts salary growth, Robert Half said.

Meanwhile, 80 per cent of professionals in the Middle East expressed a high interest in advancing their careers through upskilling and further education, the Bayt.com survey found.

When it comes to professional networking, 79.5 per cent of respondents said they use employment-focused social media platforms, followed by online groups and industry conferences, the findings showed.

Nearly 40 per cent of job seekers in the region cited a lack of suitable opportunities as their biggest challenge but also highlighted visa and work permit issues as other hurdles.

About 30 per cent of professionals polled cited career growth opportunities as the main factor driving employer loyalty and 25 per cent picked work-life balance, according to the Bayt.com poll.

Other factors promoting employee loyalty are competitive salaries and positive company culture, the survey added.

“Nearly 75 per cent of respondents believe that a diverse and inclusive workplace is important when considering a job opportunity,” Ms Haddad said.

Updated: January 05, 2024, 10:13 AM