More than half of the region’s employers, 53%, plan to recruit over the next few months, according to the new Bayt.com Jobs Index study conducted by the region’s number one job site Bayt.com, in conjunction with research specialists YouGov Siraj. In the UAE, more than a quarter of the respondents - 27%- said that their organisations would “definitely” be hiring in the next three months, and another 26% said they would “probably” be hiring. By contrast, only 8% said they would definitely not be hiring in the next quarter.
Across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the countries recorded varying propensities to hire as part of the Jobs Index. Respondents in KSA had the highest propensity to hire, with 36% saying that their organisations will definitely be recruiting new staff in the coming months while Syria and Oman showed the lowest propensity to hire with just 23% of respondents for both countries saying they will definitely hire in the next three months.
The Jobs Index (JI) is conducted to gauge perceptions of job availability and hiring, to identify job trends and to provide an understanding of the key skill sets and qualifications required in the Middle East job market.
The survey asked the respondents how many positions their organisations would be aiming to fill in the next three months. For the most part, organisations are looking to recruit staff for less than five positions: 46% said that less than five jobs will be available, and 23% said that between six and 10 jobs will be available.
“Due to the global recession, regional companies seem to still be maintaining a climate of cost-consciousness and an emphasis on maximizing returns on investment specifically in the HR arena. This, however, has been seen to favour online jobsites such as bayt.com where employers are aware that they can find the region’s top talent for key positions in the fastest, easiest, most effective and most cost-efficient manner”, noted Amer Zureikat, VP Sales, Bayt.com.
Of those that are likely to be employed, graduates or postgraduates in business management stand the best chance. According to the study, 25% of organisations around the Middle East favour employing staff that are qualified in this field. Furthermore, graduates or postgraduates in computer sciences and engineering are almost equally sought after by the region’s organisations, with 23% and 22% of respondents citing personnel in these fields as highly desirable.
“The traditional business, computer and engineering fields are still the most demanding internationally and in the Middle East. As such, graduates in these fields are likely to find it easier than others to find employment,” said Sundip Chahal, Chief Operating Officer, YouGov Siraj.
Being able to communicate in both English and Arabic is a desirable trait that employers look for when selecting new staff according to the study – 53% of respondents agreed this is what they look for most in a potential new employee. Being a cooperative, flexible, and helpful team player is also a clear skill priority among the region’s organisations, with 47% agreeing it is the most desirable trait. Being trustworthy and honest was cited as the most desirable trait by 42% of the survey’s respondents.
“The figures suggest that when recruiting, employers will not necessarily choose the candidate with the most relevant experience for the job, rather it seems companies place a big emphasis on skills such as communication and teamwork, and personality traits such as being honest and trustworthy,” noted Sundip.
The JI is in part gauged by asking the respondents what their hiring expectancy is in a year’s time; this forms the Hiring Expectancy Index (HEI). In the long term, 66% of the region’s organisations expect to hire, suggesting widespread optimism for the future. Job seekers in KSA are likely to be the luckiest at finding work in a year’s time, with 36% of the country respondents stating they will “definitely” be hiring in 12 months’ time. In the UAE, only 10% said they will probably or definitely not be hiring in a year’s time. By contrast, 26% said they would definitely hire in a year.
Respondents in Qatar were also highly confident that their organisations will be hiring in the future: 34% said they will definitely be hiring after a year. This is contrasted with just 23% and 25% of respondents in Tunisia and Morocco – the lowest figure among all of the surveyed countries.
When asked how they rate their current country of residence as a job market compared to those around the rest of the region, respondents in Qatar, followed by the UAE, were the most positive about their country: 47% and 44% respectively said it was much more attractive than other countries. In Jordan, only 12% said their country was much more attractive.
The respondents were also asked to name which industries they feel are attracting or retaining top talent in their country of residence today. As in the previous wave, the banking and finance (35%) and telecommunications (35%) sectors took the top spots in terms of those that attract the region’s top employees.
“The studies that Bayt.com conducts alongside YouGov Siraj aim to provide the region’s organisations and HR professionals with regularly updated research that sheds light on various elements of the region’s job market. The Bayt.com Jobs Index has been designed to chart how the region’s job market changes from quarter to quarter, which will allow the region’s employers and other industry stakeholders to benefit from up to date job market information, which can be used for affecting positive organisational change,” concluded Zureikat.
Data for the January 2011 Jobs Index was collected online between the 20th of December 2010 and the 6th of January 2011, with 5,054 executive managers/HR managers/senior officials from the UAE, KSA, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Pakistan.