Kingdom leads in GCC job vacancies

Saudi Arabia, 16 Jul 2009

DAMMAM - Saudi Arabia leads other Gulf countries in advertised job vacancies as of the first half of this year, according to GulfTalent, the leading online recruitment portal in the Middle East with a database of over one million professionals covering all sectors and job categories.

The Kingdom has increased its percentage share of advertised job vacancies from 15 percent during the first half of 2008 to 28 percent as of the first half of the current year, according to research conducted by the recruiting agency.

The hike in advertised job opportunities in Saudi Arabia is an indication of the strength and resiliency of the Kingdom’s economy, according to the report.

Qatar followed Saudi Arabia with 13 percent as of the first half of 2009, compared to 9 percent during the first half of 2008. Oman slightly moved by one percent from 2 percent in the first half of 2008 to 3 percent at the end of the first half of 2009.

Abu Dhabi has also seen its percentage share of job vacancies increase from 14 percent to 23 percent, but Dubai registered the biggest slump in job vacancies demand from 43 percent during the first half of 2008 to 30 percent during the same period this year, according to the GulfTalent study.

Overall, UAE suffered the biggest decline in job opportunities in the entire Gulf region.

Bahrain also showed a percentage decline in job demand from a 7 percent share during the first half of 2008 to just 4 percent as of the first half of the current year. Kuwait also registered a slow down in the recruitment of workers, from 10 percent to 7 percent.

According GulfTalent, UAE overall may have seen an increase in the outflow of expatriates, with 26 percent of all job applications submitted by UAE residents targeting vacancies in other Gulf countries, compared to just 16 percent the previous year. "Despite the increase, the outward mobility of UAE-based expats remains the lowest in the region, with the majority preferring to remain in the country," the study said.

Professionals in investment, administration, and marketing jobs have been the hardest hit. But infrastructure-related disciplines and audit professionals registered an increase in demand.

According to GulfTalent’s findings, "demand for investment professionals, including private equity and portfolio management, fell by 48 percent in the first half of the year against the same period last year. For administration skills, demand fell by 47 percent while the demand for marketing skills slid by 46 percent."

Demand for infrastructure-related functions soared by 142 percent, reflecting massive spending by GCC governments this year on road, railway and airport projects. Demand for audit professionals also increased by 25 percent, the study concluded.