The Gulf job market is set to grow at an average rate of nine percent this year, according to research conducted by GulfTalent, an online recruitment portal.
The results are based on GulfTalent’s survey of over 1,100 CEOs and executive managers of firms across the Gulf Cooperation Council, GCC.
According to survey findings, the biggest factor driving employment growth is the recent rise in oil prices and resulting upturn in business optimism. The price of crude oil, which ranged from US$30-50 for much of 2016 and 2017, has been averaging over US$60 in the past six months.
Kuwait is set to have one of the fastest rates of job creation, with a net 18 percent of firms increasing headcount. The country, which has the region’s highest dependence on the oil and gas sector, is witnessing a boom thanks to higher oil prices. According to the IMF, it is expected to have the region’s fastest economic growth this year.
In the UAE, a net 13 percent of firms are reporting an increase in personnel, driven by a recovering oil sector in Abu Dhabi as well as growth in Dubai’s non-oil sector, including the impact of infrastructure spending for Expo 2020.
Following substantial downsizing over the last three years, the oil and gas sector is now witnessing the region’s fastest headcount expansion, with a net 39 percent of firms expanding their workforces to take advantage of new projects and business opportunities.
According to GulfTalent, the healthcare sector also continues to expand, thanks to a growing domestic population and a regulatory push to increase health coverage. “Banking is another sector witnessing a healthy growth, as the improving macroeconomic environment translates to increased demand for credit and higher lending appetites of financial institutions,” it added.
In terms of demand for skills, the largest upsurge is for finance professionals, thanks to the introduction of value added tax, VAT, and the need to update finance processes and systems.
The survey found that employment across the region remains dominated by men, with companies hiring on average one woman for every three men employed. Healthcare and education are the only sectors with a majority of vacancies filled by women.