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Most Mena firms ‘to hire new staff this year’

Most companies in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region are expecting to hire new employees this year, according to a new study.

About 67 per cent of companies in the UAE are expecting to hire new employees this year, the latest Middle East and North Africa Job Index survey conducted by Bayt.com, the Middle East’s number one jobsite, and YouGov, a research and consulting organisation, showed.

It said in the next three months, 30 per cent of Mena employers are ‘definitely hiring’, with an additional 27 per cent stating that they are ‘probably hiring’ – an increase of 2 per cent in both instances in comparison to results gathered in Q3 2012.

In the UAE, 35 per cent of the companies are ‘definitely hiring’ in the next three months (compared to 28 per cent in Q3 of 2012), with 22 per cent stating that they are ‘probably’ hiring. In a year’s time, 67 per cent of companies are expecting to hire new employees, the study said.

“The clear improvement in the number of jobs to be available in the coming three and 12 months is a positive sign for the UAE’s economy. We have seen a regional increase in terms of the numbers of employment opportunities, and this is a good indicator of the region’s growth and development,” said Suhail Masri, VP of sales, Bayt.com.

“At Bayt.com, we specialise in gathering the information that matters most to employers and employees across the region as we aim to empower jobseekers and employers alike by giving them the tools to find their dream job and top talent respectively.”

The majority of companies in the UAE (67 per cent) are expecting to hire up to 10 employees in the coming three months – 2 per cent lower than the regional prospects of 69 per cent.

Employers in the UAE consider an educational background in engineering to be most important for new hires, followed by business management and commerce. They also consider good communication skills to be most important when seeking a new hire, followed by the ability to be a cooperative, helpful and flexible team player, and having good leadership skills.

Companies will look to hire candidates who have experience in team management, computer skills, sales and marketing, engineering, and those who have between 3-7 years of experience, the study said.

Respondents believe that the industries that attract and retain the top talent in the UAE are banking and finance, and oil, gas and petrochemicals, followed closely by construction.

Across the region, multinational private sector companies will be hiring the highest number of new employees in the next three months, and will continue to be the biggest source of employment in a year’s time. Within the next three months, they are looking to hire predominantly at junior executive level, followed by executives and coordinators.

“A high number of lower-tier jobs is good news for new graduates. This provides a more open field at entry-level, which will give first-time jobseekers more opportunities to find employment in the industries that they wish,” said Sundip Chahal, CEO, YouGov.

Regionally, the most desirable qualifications for candidates are in business management, commerce, engineering, and computer science.

Four out of 10 respondents (38 per cent) state that their current country of residence is more attractive than others in the Middle East, with the UAE topping the list of the most attractive countries in the region, followed by Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Similarly, 43 per cent believe that the industry they are currently working in is more attractive as a potential employer, in comparison to others. Banking and finance, and telecommunications (33 per cent each) are considered to be the industries that are attracting and retaining the top talent in the respondents’ countries, followed by construction (32 per cent) and oil, gas and petrochemicals (27 per cent).

Data for the survey was collected online from December 21, 2012 to January 31, 2013. Results are reported on a base of 4,349 respondents. Countries that participated are UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Pakistan.


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