Jobseekers across the UAE and the Middle East are confident that they will be able to find better prospects in the future job market, research has shown.
Many feel that now is the best time for them to switch their jobs for a better salary and better work-life balance. According to the Q1 2018 Middle East Job Market Survey by Michael Page, 81 per cent of respondents think that the future job market situation will get better in the next six months.
The survey, which drew the responses of more than 1,700 respondents, more than half of which were based in the UAE, also showed that 83 per cent of respondents are confident that it will take them less than three months to find a new job.
"The Middle East continues to be an attractive location for candidates with key opportunities coming up as transformations take place, and the price of oil continues to improve," said Domenic Falzarano, operating director at Michael Page Middle East.
"A good example of this was the response we received from candidates as to why they are living in the Middle East; career perspectives lead the way with 65 per cent, followed by income level and standard of living. The main motivator for candidates looking for a new job was to search for a better salary, with 47 per cent of candidates selecting this as their key driver. This was closely followed by candidates wanting to develop new skills, improve work life balance and finally candidates searching for a career change," Falzarano explained.
Leith Ramsay, managing director of Michael Page Middle East, added that the region continues to evolve, and that change affecting the volume and quality of employment opportunities, along with certain factors are crucial in attracting and retaining top talent.
Naukrigulf's bi-annual survey entitled 'Hiring Outlook 2018', which estimates the hiring sentiment of companies and consultants, also indicated a robust hiring movement, with 53 per cent of employers in the GCC region predicting new jobs to be created. This is a significant increase, when compared to the 40 per cent recorded over the same period last year.
According to the survey, construction/engineering is the leading industry where maximum jobs creation is expected to happen, followed by oil and gas and 'trade/services'. Hiring activity is also expected to rise in the retail, banking and finance and hospitality sectors. In addition, eight per cent of the recruiters indicated positivity in the hiring market for IT and IT enabled services.
V. Suresh, chief sales officer at Naukrigulf.com, said: "Looks like there is a slow and steady recovery of the job market in the GCC countries. As per the naukrigulf.com hiring outlook survey, 53 per cent of recruiters expect new jobs to be created in the coming months. It is also good to see core sectors such as construction, engineering, and oil and gas showing signs of growth. Good times ahead for jobseekers."
However, the results of the survey also revealed that companies are still facing issues when it comes to attracting the right type of talent. Results showed that 61 per cent of the employers believe that the talent crunch has intensified this year as compared to last year; and four out of 10 recruiters highlighted that hiring talent for candidates with 8-15 years of experience was the most challenging. Recruiters during the survey also noted the challenge of the talent crunch when it comes to hiring other nationalities like Arabs, Asians, and Europeans and Americans. Less than one-fourth of employers in the GCC region find recruiting nationals hassle-free.
While hiring outlook is set to improve, experts noted that the situation is not as rosy when it comes to increasing salaries. The GCC Compensation and Benefits Employer Trends 2018 report showed that 20.96 per cent of companies in the region expect to give only a 3.5 per cent increase or less. Also, 8.95 per cent are planning to increase salaries by four per cent and 8.72 per cent aim to give a five per cent increase. These are all markedly lower rates compared to 2017. However, instances of larger pay rises seem to be on the horizon for the GCC, as 17.23 per cent of companies expect to increase salaries of between 5-6.5 per cent or even higher.
"While the economic and fiscal out-turns for the first half of the year are less than anticipated, momentum is building in key parts of the region. These signs suggest that stronger economic growth could return in 2018, so long as oil prices maintain or exceed current price levels," said Richard Boxshall, senior economist at PwC Middle East.