2021 to be favorable for job hunters, employed in GCC region: Report

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Job Oppurtunities
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2021 will be a promising year for job hunters as 64 percent of the companies in the GCC region expect to recruit additional headcount in the coming 12 months, as per a recent report from the global recruiting firm Hays.

The Hays GCC Salary & Employment Report reveals that 2021 is an appealing year for both employed and job hunters. Nearly half of all employees in the GCC region expect an increase in salary in the coming 12 months and about 82 percent of companies that participated in the survey stated that they have started to regain their business from the pandemic crisis.

Chris Greaves, managing director of Hays Gulf Region, stated that “since most organizations are going to strive to keep a lid on salaries in 2021 in an attempt to recoup some of the losses made in the past year, across the board pay rises to be a rare occurrence.”

Despite the challenges brought by COVID-19 in 2020, the UAE and Saudi Arabia continued to be the busiest countries in the GCC for hiring. Last year, 49 percent of employers either increased their headcount or kept it the same as in 2019, with some areas still very active in terms of their hiring throughout the year.

“The good news is that since the easing of travel restrictions, all industries have shown signs of recovery with a significant increase in the number of jobs available seen from September onwards,” the report stated.

Another interesting finding of the survey is that while 70 percent of employees opined that their productivity had either remained the same or increased with the new remote working system, 52 percent of employers find their staff’s efficiency had decreased.

Chris Greaves
Chris Greaves
MD – Hays Gulf Region

“Moving away from salaries it is worth commenting on the fundamental shift in work patterns that the pandemic has brought upon us with the rapid acceleration to mass home working. This experience has increased employee expectations that some form of home working will be introduced permanently by their employers, with 78 percent of employees, in fact, wanting greater flexibility to their working patterns in 2021 and 41 percent of employers, who did not previously offer remote working, plan on doing so it in 2021.”

It was learned from the survey that only 44 percent of employers agreed with the employees who said their productivity had remained the same or increased due to the new working pattern. The report opines that such a gap must be bridged to maintain trust in the employer-employee relationship.

“While working from home is not a new concept for many accountancy and finance professionals, 79 percent hoped their organization would implement this as part of its normal working practices in 2021 and, going forward, we expect demand for flexible working to increase from employees,” said Amy Bassindale, business manager Accountancy & Finance, Hays Gulf Region.

In a year when GCC governments introduced legislation for companies to temporarily reduce salaries, 34 percent of the survey’s employee respondents stated that their salary actually increased in 2020 compared to that in 2019.

The biggest reason for a salary hype is found as starting a new job with a new company. In a year where job losses were high, 19 percent of employers reported an increase in headcount at the end of 2020 compared to 12 months earlier. Besides, 21 percent of businesses said they were either unaffected or positively impacted by the crisis.

According to Hays’s estimations, 2021 will offer the largest number of job opportunities in sectors including the IT and technology, healthcare, pharmaceutical, eCommerce and FMCG sectors, all of which were relatively resilient during the pandemic.