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Gulf jobs: Sectors hiring the most in 2017

More than 50% of manufacturing, healthcare firms to increase hiring. Oil and gas, construction firms still expected to make job cuts.

A talent search firm currently has 350 positions to fill for at least one industry. The vacancies are for supply chain managers, quality managers, merchandisers, storekeepers and sales people at various firms, from makers of biscuits, wafers and drinks to lubricants and furniture in the UAE.

As the economic outlook improves, households are opening up their wallets to indulge in food, out-of-home meals, home décor and other non-essentials. It’s no surprise that the manufacturing sector is doing the most hiring these days.

“Those who supply products for food and consumer goods are benefiting from the high growth rate among the region’s indigenous population,” according to GulfTalent.

The recruitment firm has asked senior executives, including CEOs and HR managers of companies in the UAE and across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region about their recruitment plans.

Based on their feedback, manufacturers look the most promising this year, with nearly six in ten (58 per cent) businesses in the sector planning to bump up their headcount.

“The sector has been a prime focus of economic diversification efforts by governments over the last couple of years,” said GulfTalent in its report sent to Gulf News. “Some surveyed companies cited streamlined regulations, strong logistics networks and proximity to export markets as factors contributing to their growth.”

Organisations who supply products for food and consumer goods, in particular, are benefiting from the high growth rate among the region’s indigenous population.

Companies in the healthcare sector, including hospitals, reported the second-highest rate of jobs growth, with more than half (55 per cent) eyeing staff expansion.

“This is also largely on the back of increasing demand from a fast-growing population, further fuelled by government investment and regulatory changes requiring employers to provide medical cover for their employees.”

There are also new jobs in the banking industry, where 44 per cent of companies plan to hire additional staff. However, employment cuts are still going to affect some banks, with eight per cent saying they do have plans to retrench staff this year. The number of payroll cuts, however, is falling, given that there were more banks (38 per cent) who laid off employees in 2016.

“With the economic outlook more stable, some are taking the opportunity to fill specialist vacancies that were left unfilled last year due to hiring freezes.”

Those who see themselves working in debt collection departments won’t be the least disappointed, as banks look to add manpower to keep a grip on rising levels of loan defaults among customers.

Among the industries that are still not doing really well are oil and gas and construction. According to GulfTalent, organisations in the petroleum business continue to downsize.

The rate of job cuts in the sector, however, has slowed down, with only a third of firms confirming plans to lay off workers, compared with almost half in 2016.

Executives at oil firms are nonetheless optimistic. Among those polled for the survey, nearly eight in ten (77 per cent) expect their 2017 revenues to exceed those of last year, as oil prices edge higher at times, following output cuts agreed in the OPEC meeting last November.

Companies in the construction industry are the worst performing, with nearly half (45 per cent) of companies reporting plans to reduce employee numbers this year, only slightly less than the 55 per cent recorded in 2016.

“The sector has been hit hard by cuts in government budgets and cancelled or delayed projects. It has also suffered billions of dollars in delayed payments, in some cases resulting in wages for thousands of workers going unpaid for several months.”

GulfTalent also noted vacancies are still likely to be offered even by companies who plan to impose job cuts. To keep costs to a minimum, some organisations remove jobs, reduce department sizes and consolidate multiple job descriptions within a single hire, according to GulfTalent managing director Yasser Hatami.

“This may be good news for those possessing a range of skill sets, though less fortunate for those highly specialised in a single discipline.”

Source: Gulf News

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