Employment and job creation remain the hottest issues in the Middle East, including in the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

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2 Introduction Employment and job creation remain the hottest issues in the Middle East, including in the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). This research report, produced by online recruiting firm GulfTalent.com, summarises the status of the employment market and forecasts key trends to be expected during Employment and Salary Trends in the Gulf is published annually since 2005 and is the premier publication on employment trends in the Gulf region. GulfTalent.com All rights reserved. 1

3 This report is based on in-depth research from a wide array of sources Research Methodology Source Participants Selection Criteria Online Survey of Candidates 35,000 professionals Professionals employed by 3,000 largest corporations in the GCC Aged years Earning an annual income in the range USD 12,000 - USD 200,000 Online Survey of Employers 2,100 Executives & HR Managers Employing 50 to 20,000 staff Across all major industries Interviews with Top Managers News & Research 60 Senior Executives Mix of private sector local and international companies Across all major industries Based in the 6 GCC countries (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, UAE) Relevant reports from the press and news sources across the region Macro-economic sources 2

4 Contents Economic & Political Background Nationalisation... 9 Recruitment...13 Mobility...19 Salaries & Cost of Living Forecast...32 Appendix Useful Information

5 Economic & Political Background 4

6 Gulf countries are experiencing high economic growth compared to the rest of the world, thanks to high oil prices and government spending Economic Growth Crude Oil Price USD per Barrel GCC Economic Growth World Economic Growth % 1.4% 0.0% 4.2% 4.1% 6.5% 2.7% 4.7% 2.2% % Forecast Source: Economist Intelligence Unit Source: Dow Jones & Company 5

7 During 2011, Qatar and Saudi Arabia led economic growth in the Gulf, while Bahrain saw the region s lowest growth Gulf Economic Overview 2011 GDP Growth Key Factors Affecting Growth Size of Economy ($bn) Qatar 17.6% Completion of gas projects, Government spending on infrastructure, 2022 World Cup preparation 179 Saudi Arabia 7.0% High oil price, Huge government spending programme 588 Oman 4.7% Government spending, some limited unrest 67 Kuwait 4.4% High oil price, Government spending, US troops withdrawal from Iraq 163 UAE 3.3% High oil price, Tourism boost following Arab spring, Dubai debt restructuring, Financial sector weakness 358 Bahrain 2.2% Domestic unrest 26 Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, GulfTalent.com Interviews 6

8 2011 was a year of political turmoil in the Arab world Arab World Key Popular Movements 2011 Tunisia Lebanon Syria Iraq Jordan Kuwait Bahrain Qatar Libya Egypt Saudi Arabia UAE Oman Revolution / Overthrow of Government Public Demonstrations Yemen On-going armed conflict 7

9 GCC governments have undertaken massive wealth distribution measures among their citizens Pay Rise for Nationals in Public Sector 2011 Other Government Measures 2011 Qatar UAE Bahrain Kuwait Saudi Arabia Oman 15% 25% up to 37.5% Omani Rial per month % % Saudi Arabia $130bn subsidy programme SAR 2,000 per month unemployment benefit Minimum wage raised to SAR 3,000 Large scale housing programme Oman - 50,000 new jobs in public sector - Minimum wage increased to OMR OMR 150 per month unemployment benefit Bahrain - One-off grant of BHD 1,000 per family - Minimum wage increased to BHD 402 Kuwait - One-off grant of KD 1,000 per citizen UAE - $2.7bn fund to provide loan assistance for low income citizens Source: News reports 8

10 Nationalisation 9

11 Job creation for citizens through nationalisation of expatriate jobs continues to be a top priority for most GCC governments Overview of Nationalisation in Private Sector Pressure on Employers % of employers reporting nationalisation as a key human resource challenge Average Nationalisation Rate Nationals employed in private sector as % of total private sector employment (2011) Increase in Nationalisation % of companies reporting an increase in their nationalisation rate during 2011 Oman 82% 14% 36% Saudi Arabia 78% 10% 59% Bahrain 54% 20% 17% Kuwait 38% 5% 27% UAE 28% 7% 17% Qatar 17% 1% 15% Source: GulfTalent.com Survey of HR Managers, GCC Labour Ministries 10

12 GCC governments have historically used a range of measures to increase employment of nationals in the private sector GCC Nationalisation Common Government Strategies Targets & Limits Support & Facilitation Incentives & Enforcement Targets by sector (e.g. Banks, Oil and Gas, etc.) Targets by job functions (e.g. HR) Employment fund (subsidising wages of newly employed nationals) Free training for nationals Withholding visas for expat hires Tax on employers for each expatriate employee Job centers putting unemployed in touch with employers Public praise / reprimand Source: Press reports, HR interviews 11

13 More innovative approaches are being tried in some countries, introducing elements of choice, competition and commercial incentive Recent Nationalisation Initiatives Saudisation ( Nitaqat introduced June 2011) Emiratisation (Introduced December 2010) Companies within each sector are ranked by their Saudization rate and grouped into 3 categories. Companies in lowest ranks ( red zone ) would face difficulties in applying for new visas or even renewing existing visas. Companies in highest ranks ( green zone ) would be able to hire expats from companies in the red zone without acquiring no objection certificates (NOC). Companies are placed into one of 3 categories - according to their Emiratisation level, diversity of nationalities and compliance with proposed minimum wage levels. Companies in lower categories pay significantly higher government fees for their visa requirements. Zone boundaries vary by industry, and are determined based on the average of each peer group. 12

14 Recruitment 13

15 Saudi Arabia leads job creation in the Gulf, while Bahrain lags the group with almost no expansion reported Employment by Country Net % of firms which increased headcount Observations Saudi Arabia 62% 55% Almost all Gulf countries had higher rates of job creation compared to Oman Kuwait 56% 51% 57% 25% Saudi Arabia had the highest rate of job creation thanks to its strong economic growth and high government spending. Qatar UAE 37% 51% 45% 22% Bahrain had almost no job creation in 2011 following severe political tensions in the country. Bahrain 8% 23% UAE had a significant rise in job creation, but it was still much lower than most Gulf countries. Source: GulfTalent.com Survey of HR Managers 14

16 Dubai s share of regional recruitment activity has started to increase after two years of slowdown due to a combination of jobs growth and staff turnover Recruitment Volume by Location % of vacancies advertised on GulfTalent.com * Oman Bahrain Kuwait Qatar 2% 6% 9% 8% 4% 4% 6% 14% 3% 4% 4% 16% 3% 3% 4% 17% Saudi Arabia 14% 20% 20% 18% UAE (excluding Dubai) 13% 21% 22% 18% Dubai 48% 31% 31% 37% * Based on 68,000 vacancies advertised by employers and recruitment agencies on GulfTalent.com website over the specified period Note: Internet penetration and prevalence of online recruitment varies across the countries Source: GulfTalent.com 15

17 Oil & gas, healthcare and retail sectors are enjoying the largest headcount expansion, while banking and construction fare the worst Employment by Sector Net % of firms which increased headcount in 2011 Observations Oil & Gas Healthcare 63% 61% Oil & Gas had the highest rate of employment due to expansion plans following two years of high oil price. Retail Telecoms/IT 50% 60% Healthcare also had high employment for a second year mainly due to continued government investment. Engineering Travel & Hospitality 46% 43% Retail continued to enjoy high growth on the back of higher consumer spending and net disposable income. Transport & Logistics Real Estate 41% 33% Banking had one of the lowest growth rates, with some banks announcing fresh rounds of redundancies, following increased worries about the Euro crisis. Banking Construction 28% 27% Construction continued to have a low employment growth rate due to completion of old projects and lack of new ones. Source: GulfTalent.com Survey of HR Managers 16

18 With Western countries facing high unemployment and low pay rises, Gulf employers are finding hiring Western nationals easier than Asian candidates Unemployment Rate in Western Countries Private Sector Pay Increase Global Comparison % % India 12.6% 10% 9% France UK Philippines 6.7% 8% Canada GCC 5.5% 7% 6% 5% Australia Australia UK 4.4% 3.1% 4% 3% US Canada 2.7% 2.7% Source: Economist Intelligence Unit Source: Aon Hewitt, Hay Group, GulfTalent.com 17

19 The popular uprisings across the wider Middle East have had a mixed impact on attraction and retention of talent in the Gulf Impact of Arab Spring on Gulf Employment Key Trends Employment of Nationals Nationalisation targets: Government pressure on private sector to hire more nationals has intensified. Competition for nationals: Pay hikes awarded by governments to public sector employees, which were partly prompted by the Arab Spring, has made it harder for the private sector to attract nationals. Availability of Arab expats: More Arab expatriates are available from countries which experienced political turmoil. Expatriate Employment Visa restrictions: Some Gulf governments have made it more difficult to apply for employment visas for expats from troubled countries. Western expats: Some employers are finding it difficult to attract Western candidates, as they perceive the region to be unsafe following the press coverage of the Arab spring. 18

20 Mobility 19

21 The UAE and Qatar remain prime destinations for expatriates, with Saudi Arabia in third place Attraction of Expatriates % of GCC-based expats outside the country who wish to relocate into it 70% Observations UAE has strengthened its position as the most popular destination among Gulf-based expatriates. 60% 50% 40% UAE Qatar Qatar, which was rapidly closing the attraction gap with the UAE, remains in second place and has lost some momentum, as sentiments about the UAE economy becomes more positive. 30% 20% Saudi Arabia 10% Oman Kuwait 0% Bahrain Source: GulfTalent.com Surveys Saudi Arabia remains in third place, with its attractiveness stable, following a sharp rise in popularity at the onset of the crisis. Bahrain dropped from fourth place to the bottom, becoming the Gulf s least attractive destination for expatriates, following political tensions in the country. 20

22 Dubai remains by far the region s most attractive city for expatriates Ranking of Gulf Cities By Attractiveness to Expatriates % of GCC-based expats outside the city who wish to relocate into it Overall Western Expats Asian Expats Arab Expats Dubai 37% 46% 35% 38% Doha 22% 21% 20% 25% Abu Dhabi 20% 26% 20% 17% Jeddah 7% 3% 7% 9% Muscat 4% 8% 4% 2% Kuwait 3% 1% 4% 3% Madina 3% 1% 3% 3% Riyadh 3% 2% 3% 3% Makkah 3% 0% 3% 2% Dammam 2% 0% 2% 1% Manama 2% 3% 2% 1% Sharjah 2% 1% 2% 1% Source: GulfTalent.com Survey 21

23 In terms of attractiveness to expatriates living within the country, the UAE once again retains the lead position Retention of Expatriates % of expats within the country who wish to remain there Observations UAE 81% 72% UAE s already high retention rate has increased further, due to a rebound in business confidence, declining rents and the country s high level of political stability. Kuwait Saudi Arabia Qatar 49% 49% 64% 59% 50% 51% Kuwait benefits from the long-term nature of its expatriate population, with social and family ties formed over the years discouraging expats from leaving the country. Bahrain 46% 50% Qatar s retention rate remains significantly lower than UAE mainly because of laws preventing expatriates from changing jobs. Oman 45% 50% Bahrain s retention rate has dropped for a second year, following political tensions and slow economic growth in the country. Source: GulfTalent.com Survey 22

24 Abu Dhabi continues to serve as an employment hub for a portion of Dubai residents, while Bahrain s role as a base for working in Saudi has taken a hit Dubai-residents working in Abu Dhabi As % of all working professionals living in Dubai Bahrain-residents working in Saudi Arabia As % of all working professionals living in Bahrain 5.4% 5.4% 2.2% 3.4% 1.0% 0.9% 1.1% 1.3% 1.1% 1.1% Source: GulfTalent.com Surveys 23

25 Governments across the Gulf are continuing to encourage labour mobility within their countries, through easing NOC requirements * Domestic Labour Mobility Country Labour Mobility Recent Developments Bahrain NOC requirement abolished in 2009 Oman NOC requirement abolished in 2007 UAE Kuwait Saudi Arabia Qatar NOC not required after completing 2 years (Jan. 2011). Already removed fully for free zones. New sponsorship system plans to remove NOC requirement altogether, but not implemented yet NOC not required if previous employer below required nationalisation targets (June 2011) Most strict in the Gulf. NOC fully enforced. No indication of an imminent easing. Guide to chart Full labour mobility (NOC not required) No labour mobility (NOC fully enforced) * No Objection Certificate issued to expatriate employees by their employer, giving consent to the expatriate being hired by another firm Source: Press reports, HR interviews 24

26 Salaries & Cost of Living 25

27 Average private sector salary increase in the Gulf has remained stable, but much lower than pre-recession levels. GCC Average Salary Increase %, % 9.0% 6.2% 6.1% 5.5% 5.6% Forecast Source: GulfTalent.com Surveys 26

28 During 2011, Oman enjoyed the highest average increase in pay, followed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar Private Sector Salary Increase by Country Observations Oman Saudi Arabia 6.5% 6.0% 6.4% 6.7% Oman had the highest salary increase in the Gulf, in part driven by widespread strikes by Omani employees and the pay hike awarded in the public sector. Qatar Kuwait 5.1% 5.6% 6.8% 5.7% Saudi Arabia and Qatar continued to have high salary increases on the back of strong economic developments. UAE 4.9% 5.2% Bahrain had the lowest salary increase due to lower economic growth following the political unrest. Bahrain 4.5% 4.9% Source: GulfTalent.com Survey 27

29 Average pay rise net of inflation, was highest in the UAE and Bahrain Real Salary Increase by Country * Salary Rise Inflation Observations Bahrain UAE 4.0% 4.9% 4.5% 4.9% -0.4% 0.9% Despite having the lowest salary increases in the Gulf, Bahrain and UAE enjoyed the highest increases in real terms due to very low inflation rates. Qatar Oman 2.5% 3.7% 5.6% 6.5% 1.9% 4.0% Saudi Arabia and Kuwait had the lowest salary increases in the Gulf in real terms, due to relatively high inflation. Saudi Arabia 1.0% 6.0% 5.0% Kuwait 0.4% 5.1% 4.7% * Defined as nominal pay rise net of inflation rate Source: GulfTalent.com Survey, Economist Intelligence Unit 28

30 HR professionals enjoyed the highest pay rise, while Administration and Marketing had the lowest Salary Increase by Job Category %, 2011 Observations HR IT 6.4% 6.3% HR had the highest salary increase for a second year, reflecting the rising profile and growing sophistication of the HR role, as well as leaner HR operations supported by fewer staff following the crisis. Finance Sales Engineering Admin 5.5% 5.3% 5.3% 4.9% IT had one of the highest increases last year, due to global shortage and on-going demand for IT professionals. Admin candidates continued to have one of the lowest increases, as companies continue to automate processes and seek staffing efficiencies. Marketing 4.6% Source: GulfTalent.com Survey 29

31 Among sectors, Healthcare and Retail offered the highest pay rises, while Real Estate had the lowest Salary Increase by Industry %, 2011 Observations Healthcare Retail & FMCG Telecoms & IT Oil & Gas Engineering Construction Travel & Hospitality Transport & Logistics 6.4% 6.2% 5.7% 5.7% 5.6% 5.4% 5.1% 5.0% Healthcare had the highest salary increase, due to increased investments by GCC governments, specifically Saudi Arabia. Retail sector continued to have high salary increase in line with strong growth in the sector, generated by high consumer spending. Banking sector continued to suffer for a third year, following a slow rate of recovery and fresh rounds of redundancies on the back of the European debt crisis. Education 4.6% Banking 4.5% Real Estate 4.3% Source: GulfTalent.com Survey 30

32 Cost of living has continued to rise in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman. In absolute terms, however, it remains low compared to UAE and Qatar Inflation % Rent for Two-bedroom Apartment US$ per month, 2012* Abu Dhabi 1,930 Saudi Arabia 5.0% 5.4% Doha Dubai 1,650 1,590 Kuwait 4.7% 4.0% Muscat 1,000 Oman 4.0% 3.2% Kuwait 960 Qatar 1.9% -2.4% Sharjah Manama UAE 0.9% 0.9% Riyadh 710 Bahrain -0.4% 2.0% Dammam Jubail Jeddah 670 Khobar 550 Source: Economist Intelligence Unit * Average figure. Wide variations based on location and quality Source: GulfTalent.com Survey 31

33 2012 Forecast 32

34 Gulf salary rises during 2012 are expected to be broadly in line with 2011 Expected Average Pay Rise %, 2012 Forecast Observations Qatar 6.4% 5.6% Gulf employers generally expect similar salary increases in 2012 compared to the previous year Saudi Arabia Oman 6.2% 5.6% 6.0% 6.5% Qatar and Saudi Arabia are expected to have the highest increase in the Gulf and slightly higher than their 2011 levels, as companies expand to capitalise on the two countries strong economic growth UAE Kuwait 5.1% 4.9% 4.9% 5.1% Bahrain is once again expected to have the region s lowest salary increase in 2012 due to a stagnant economy following domestic unrest in Bahrain 4.5% 4.5% Source: GulfTalent.com Survey of HR Managers 33

35 Job creation is expected to be moderately higher in 2012, with Saudi Arabia continuing to lead Employment Growth by Country Net % of firms increasing headcounts Observations Saudi Arabia Oman 77% 73% 62% 56% All Gulf economies are expected to have higher rates of job creation in 2012 compared to the previous year. Kuwait Qatar UAE 51% 68% 65% 51% 51% 37% Saudi Arabia is expected to continue to have the highest rate of job creation in the Gulf, thanks to high economic growth and government spending. Bahrain is expected to rebound partially from a stagnant job market in 2011, but will continue to have the region s lowest rate of job creation. Bahrain 42% 8% Source: GulfTalent.com Survey of HR Managers 34

36 Oil & gas, retail and healthcare will continue to dominate jobs growth, while banking and construction continue to have the lowest growth rates Employment Growth by Sector Net % of firms increasing headcounts Observations Oil & Gas 73% 63% Retail 72% 60% Healthcare 65% 61% Telecoms & IT 63% 50% Oil & Gas is expected to have the highest expansion in 2012 due to new projects in the sector. Retail is expected to continue growing at a high rate due to higher net disposable income and consumer spending. Transport & Logistics Travel & Hospitality 62% 62% 41% 43% Banking is expected to have the lowest rate of job creation in 2012, due to continuing credit concerns and the Euro-zone financial crisis Engineering 58% 46% Real Estate 57% 33% Construction 48% 27% Banking 46% 28% Source: GulfTalent.com Survey of HR Managers 35

37 A number of external uncertainties can impact the Gulf economy and labour market during 2012 Political & Economic Uncertainties Economic Factors Political Factors European debt crisis: Continuing bad news in Europe, including the possibility of a sovereign default, could lead to another global recession impacting Gulf countries, particularly the UAE which is more exposed to global trade and tourism. US Dollar: Given the Gulf countries peg to the US Dollar, any significant fluctuations in the value of the US Dollar against other currencies could impact Gulf employers ability to attract and retain expatriates particularly from major source countries such as India. Arab spring: Significant uncertainty remains over the outcome of the conflict in Syria, the kind of governments which are likely to emerge in place of those that have fallen, and the extent to which developments in the wider Arab world will impact Gulf countries. Iran tensions: A possible military conflict with Iran could have unpredictable consequences for the entire Middle East region including Gulf countries. Source: Economist Intelligent Unit, GulfTalent.com Interviews 36

38 Appendix Useful Information 37

39 Useful Information Salary Rise by Country % Rise in Base Salary Country F Bahrain 4.9% 4.5% 4.5% Kuwait 5.7% 5.1% 4.9% Oman 6.4% 6.5% 5.6% Qatar 6.8% 5.6% 6.4% Saudi Arabia 6.7% 6.0% 6.2% UAE 5.2% 4.9% 5.1% Economic Growth % Real GDP Change Country F Bahrain 4.5% 2.2% 3.1% Kuwait 3.1% 4.4% 5.4% Oman 5.0% 4.7% 4.5% Qatar 14.0% 17.6% 7.6% Saudi Arabia 4.1% 7.0% 4.8% UAE 1.4% 3.3% 3.5% Inflation Country F Bahrain 2.0% -0.4% 2.2% Kuwait 4.0% 4.7% 4.4% Oman 3.2% 4.0% 3.7% Qatar -2.4% 1.9% 2.1% Saudi Arabia 5.4% 5.0% 4.3% UAE 0.9% 0.9% 2.1% Population (millions) Country 2012 Bahrain 1.3 Kuwait 3.9 Oman 3.4 Qatar 1.8 Saudi Arabia 28.9 UAE 7.5 Forecast Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, GulfTalent.com Surveys 38

40 How GulfTalent.com can help you? Job Opportunities Register for weekly job alerts Apply to 5,000 companies and 500 recruitment agencies in the Gulf Build your professional CV online Recruitment Solutions Search our database of 3 million professionals Advertise your vacancies to over 1 million visitors per month. Send targeted s to suitable candidates HR Resources Free Research Reports on the Middle East employment market Labour Laws of Gulf countries List of HR Events including conferences, seminars and training courses Directory of HR Service Providers Tel: Web: 39

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