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

This research report, produced by online recruiting firm, GulfTalent, summarises the status of the employment market and forecasts key trends to be expected during 2014

Published annually, “Employment and Salary Trends in the Gulf” is the premier publication on employment trends in the Gulf region

© GulfTalent 2014. All rights reserved.


Research Methodology      

Kuwait.000   ¨ ¨ £ 800 Executives & HR Managers Employing 50 to 20.USD 200.000 staff    £  ¨ ¨ £   60 Senior Executives 200+ Articles Mix of private sector local and international companies Across all major industries Based in the 6 GCC countries (Saudi Arabia.000 . Qatar.000 Professionals Employed by large and Across all major industries medium-sized firms in the GCC Aged 22-60 years Annual income in the range USD 12.      © © ©      ¥ £ £  £ £ £ ¤ ¤       © © ¥  ¥ ¥  £  ¦ ¢ ¥ £ ¤ § © ¥ £ £ ¨      34. Oman and the UAE) Relevant reports from the press and news sources across the region Macro-economic sources 2 . Bahrain.

with more people and capital flowing to the relative stability of the Gulf. employers are increasingly under pressure to reduce their reliance on expatriate talent. pace of development of infrastructure for the World Cup and Expo 2020. deteriorating condition of emerging markets and regional political developments. Recruitment: The region continues to create jobs with Saudi Arabia in the lead. Meanwhile across the region. However. global economic recovery. followed by Doha. Salary increase was highest among accounting and finance professionals. particularly in Saudi Arabia. Factors that can impact the expected rate of growth include the oil price. Optimism about the country’s future has increased following Dubai’s economic recovery and its successful bid for the Expo 2020. followed by Saudi Arabia. Oman continued to witness the region’s highest average pay increase in 2013. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the region’s most attractive cities for expatriates. Salaries & Cost of Living: Salary rises in the private sector are stable at around 6% but remain well below pre-recession levels. but has benefited from recent falls in their currency values. supported by continued high oil prices and government investments in infrastructure. telecom and retail led job growth. particularly India. where 62% of companies reported increased headcount in 2013. Construction saw the largest increase among sectors. increased visa restrictions on nationals of these countries in parts of the GCC is preventing employers from hiring them. Political tensions across the broader Middle East continue to have an impact on the Gulf. with Oman and Saudi Arabia in the lead. As growth in Asia remains strong. returning to its pre-crisis level of popularity. followed by the UAE.Executive Summary Economic & Political Background: The economies of the Gulf continue to grow at a healthy pace. The region is also gaining international prominence as Qatar and UAE are preparing to host major international events in the next decade. The supply of Arab expatriate talent has increased drastically due to tensions in Egypt and Syria. 2014 Forecast: Salaries are forecast to rise at a higher rate in 2014 in most of the GCC. continues to be challenging.led by Qatar and Saudi Arabia. expatriate recruitment from those markets. All countries expect to see a net increase in jobs . healthcare. 3 . On a sector basis. Mobility: The UAE has further strengthened its position as the prime destination for expatriates in the GCC.

Contents Economic & Political Background Recruitment Mobility Salaries & Cost of Living 2014 Forecast Appendix – Useful Information 18 23 29 35 10 5 4 .

Economic & Political Background 5 .

9% 4.4% 3.7% 20 0 2009 2011 2012 2013 2014 Forecast 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 World Economic Growth 5.7% 2.0% 2.Gulf Economic Growth Gulf countries continue to enjoy higher economic growth than the global average.3% 2009 2010 -2.9% 60 40 2.5% 120 100 5.1% 2.3% Source: Economist Intelligence Unit Source: World Bank 6 . thanks to high oil prices GDP Growth Rate 2009-2014 Crude Oil Price USD per Barrel (Brent) GCC Economic Growth 140 7.1% 0.5% 80 4.

2013 GDP Growth Estimate Key Factors Affecting Growth Size of Economy (USD bn) Qatar 5. Qatar led economic growth in the region.7% Government investment in infrastructure. unresolved political tensions 733 Saudi Arabia 3.2% High government spending on infrastructure and welfare 82 31 Bahrain 3.3% Weak growth in oil production 181 Source: Economist Intelligence Unit.Economic Growth by Country In 2013. slight dip in oil output Kuwait 2. GulfTalent Interviews 7 .5% Growth in non-oil & gas sectors. growth in the construction. recovery of the real estate sector 404 Oman 4.9% Recovery of oil output after technical challenges in 2012. retail and transport sectors. while Kuwait saw the lowest growth GCC Economic Overview.3% Growth in the tourism & hospitality sector. International Monetary Fund. including construction and banking 206 UAE 4.

Political Developments Economic growth and employment are being affected by tensions in parts of the Arab world Middle East – Key Hotspots 2013 Lebanon Iraq aq Kuwait Jordan Syria Bahrain Qatar Egypt Saudi Arabia UAE Armed Conflict Oman Overthrow of Government Public Demonstrations Yemen Strikes / Industrial Dispute 8 .

after bidding by four cities (inc. Sao Paulo and Yekaterinburg) The first time that the Expo is taking place in the Middle East Expected to attract millions of visitors to Dubai and boost business through investment and tourism South Korea and US) Awarded to Qatar in 2010. Izmir. Japan. after bidding by five countries (inc. Australia. The first time that the tournament will be hosted in the Middle East Expected to drive investment and growth in infrastructure and construction 9 .Major Events The region is gaining greater international prominence as Qatar and Dubai are preparing to host major international events. likely to boost investment and employment Expo 2020 UAE World Cup 2022 Qatar Awarded to Dubai in November 2013.

Recruitment 10 .

while Bahrain has the lowest rate of job growth Employment Growth by Country: Net percentage of firms which increased headcount 2013 2012 Observations Saudi Arabia 62% 57% Saudi Arabia had the highest rate of job creation among all GCC countries with 62% of companies increasing headcount UAE 51% 50% Kuwait 47% 31% Qatar had a significantly lower rate of job creation compared to 2012 as projects entered the execution phase later than expected. possibly resulting from uncertainty over the World Cup and the country’s recent leadership succession Bahrain’s employers were reluctant to expand their headcount in the face of low growth and potential further political instability Qatar 41% 61% Oman 38% 44% Bahrain 9% 27% Source: GulfTalent Survey of HR Managers 11 .Job Creation by Country Saudi Arabia leads job creation in the Gulf.

com over the specified period Note: Internet penetration and prevalence of online recruitment varies across the countries Source: GulfTalent 12 . have seen an increase in their share of regional recruitment activity. while Qatar’s share declined in 2013 Recruitment Volume by Location: Percentage of vacancies advertised on GulfTalent * 3% 3% 4% 5% 4% 3% 4% 17% 20% 2% 4% 2% 3% 3% 16% Bahrain Oman Kuwait 16% Qatar Saudi Arabia 20% 18% 20% 19% 18% 22% 15% 17% UAE (Excluding Dubai) 37% 31% 40% 34% Dubai 2010 2011 2012 2013 * Based on 100.Recruitment Volumes The UAE.000 vacancies advertised by employers and recruitment agencies on GulfTalent. and particularly Dubai.

Job Creation by Sector The Healthcare sector witnesses the highest increase in headcount and Banking the lowest Employment Growth by Sector: Net percentage of firms which increased headcount in 2013 Observations 80% Healthcare Telecoms & IT 67% Retail 62% Healthcare enjoyed the highest increase. driven by rapid population growth as well as increasing retail penetration Banking. as governments invest heavily in the sector. while more countries make health insurance mandatory for employers Hospitality 60% Telecoms & IT’s high increase in headcount was due to accelerating demand. despite a healthy recovery from the crisis. saw the lowest employment growth Oil & Gas 57% Logistics 50% Construction 40% Real Estate 33% Banking 32% Source: GulfTalent Survey of HR Managers 13 . in line with global trends Retail saw high growth.

resulting in deportation of a further 250.000 expatriates Requirement for dependents of expatriates to transfer their sponsorship to employer in order to be able to work Imposition of a much higher annual fee on employers for each expatriate hire Oman 81% Bahrain 43% Kuwait 38% UAE 28% Qatar 21% Source: GulfTalent Survey of HR Managers 14 . especially in Saudi Arabia and Oman Nationalisation Pressure on Employers: Percentage of employers reporting nationalisation as a key human resource challenge in 2013 Saudi Arabia 87% Key Government Nationalisation Measures in Saudi Arabia Strict enforcement of Saudisation targets under the ‘Nitaqat’ system Departure of 1 million expatriates during period of amnesty Crackdown on illegal migrant workers.Nationalisation Nationalisation of workforce remains a key challenge for companies.

9% 3.9% 3% 2008 2011 2012 2009 2010 2013 Source: Economist Intelligence Unit Source: Aon Hewitt.Global Recruitment Sources Attracting Western nationals remains easier for Gulf employers. due to high unemployment and wage stagnation in Europe Unemployment Rate in Western Countries 2008-2013 Private Sector Pay Increase – Global Comparison % 2013 12% India France Philippines 6.7% 10.2% 11% 10% 9% GCC 5. GulfTalent 15 .9% 8% United Kingdom Canada UK Australia US 2. Hay Group.0% Australia 3.8% 7% 6% 5% 4% Canada 2.

1 Euro British Pound 1 Philippine Peso Indian Rupee 0.8 Jan-13 Apr-13 Jul-13 Oct-13 Jan-14 * Pegged to US Dollar Source: OANDA 16 .Currency Movements Recent currency movements have made Gulf salaries more attractive for Asian professionals. Gulf Currencies * Change in Value 2013-2014 (Indexed to 1 Jan.9 0. while reducing their value to Europeans Foreign Currencies vs. 2013) 1.

Jordanian and Lebanese candidates frequently get denied without reason.” “We have found some really good Syrian candidates keen to move to GCC in the recent past. but getting visas for them proved to be very difficult. UAE “The influx of candidates from Egypt and Syria has brought the average salary expectation down as they are ready to work for much less. but visa restrictions have been increased against them High interest to relocate to GCC Increased visa restrictions “Egyptians are ready to work for much lower salaries now. Saudi Arabia HR Business Partner.” HR & Admin Manager. particularly in the UAE. Qatar and Kuwait.” HR Business Partner. Syrian. UAE HR Manager. “Visas for Egyptian.Impact of Arab Spring The Arab Spring is driving more Arab expats to the GCC. UAE Source: GulfTalent Interviews 17 . looking for peace of mind and security.

Mobility 18 .

driven by Dubai’s re-bound as well as the slow pace of new projects 40% 30% Qatar Saudi Arabia’s heightened nationalisation measures are discouraging expatriates from seeking employment in the kingdom Bahrain remains the least attractive destination as expatriates continue to perceive the country as unsafe 20% Saudi Arabia Oman Kuwait Bahrain 2010 2011 2012 2013 10% 0% 2008 2009 Source: GulfTalent Survey 19 .Popular Countries The UAE extends its lead over the other GCC countries as the most popular destination for expatriates Attraction of Expatriates: Percentage of GCC-based expats outside each country who wish to relocate into it Observations 70% UAE The UAE has strengthened its position as the prime destination for expatriates. as optimism about its future increases following Dubai’s successful economic recovery and continued stability despite turmoil in the wider region 60% 50% Qatar has dropped heavily from its 2010 peak in popularity.

Popular Cities Dubai remains the region’s most attractive city. followed by Abu Dhabi and Doha Ranking of Gulf Cities – By Attraction for Expatriates: Percentage of GCC-based expatriates outside the city who wish to relocate into it 2013 2012 48% 20% 16% 5% 3% 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 1% 1% 40% 19% 20% 7% 4% 3% 3% 3% 3% 1% 2% 1% Dubai Abu Dhabi Doha Jeddah Muscat Kuwait City Madina Riyadh Makkah Sharjah Dammam Manama Source: GulfTalent Survey 20 .

infrastructure and optimism about the country’s economic development Kuwait 60% 64% Qatar continues to have the lowest retention rate within the GCC. as the overwhelming majority of expatriates wish to stay in the country Retention of Expatriates: Percentage of expatriates within the country who wish to remain there Observations 2013 2012 88% 83% UAE The UAE’s appeal for expatriates already living within the country is due to stability. largely as a result of the UAE’s accelerating popularity Bahrain 49% 50% Oman 47% 51% Saudi Arabia 49% 45% Qatar 43% 48% Source: GulfTalent Survey 21 .Retention by Country The UAE experiences a rise in retention rate. mainly as a result of laws preventing expatriates from changing jobs Retention rates across most GCC countries are falling.

7% 3.1% 1.4% Recession causes massive job losses in Dubai 1.4% 5. following regulatory changes in Abu Dhabi as well as an improving Dubai economy Dubai Residents Working in Abu Dhabi As percentage of all working professionals living in Dubai 5.1% 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 Source: GulfTalent Survey 22 .8% Abu Dhabi state firms ordered to stop housing allowance to employees living outside Abu Dhabi 3.4% 4.Domestic Relocations Fewer Dubai residents are now working in Abu Dhabi.

Salaries & Cost of Living 23 .

2014 11.0% 6.4% Global financial crisis hits the GCC 9.Salary Increases Salary rises in the private sector are stable but remain below pre-recession levels GCC Average Salary Increase 2005 .9% 7.9% 6.5% 6.1% 5.2% 5.0% 7.3% 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 Forecast Source: GulfTalent Survey 24 .2% 6.

2% Bahrain 4.4% 8.7% 6.Salaries by Country Oman continues to witness the region’s highest average pay increase in the private sector. following a 62% rise in national minimum wage and a further mandatory increase for nationals employed in the private sector Qatar 5. with most countries seeing a slower increase Saudi Arabia 6.4% 5.0% 5.2% Source: GulfTalent Survey 25 .5% Bahrain’s salary rise remained conservative as many businesses struggled to grow Kuwait 5.8% UAE 5.6% The UAE was the only country that saw a higher average pay increase in 2013 than the previous year.8% Oman had the highest average salary rise. followed by Saudi Arabia Private Sector Salary Increase by Country Observations 2013 2012 Oman 7.6% 6.3% 5.

2013 * Observations Salary Rise Inflation Oman 6.1% 7.3% Oman and the UAE enjoyed the highest real salary increase with 6.7% 3. Economist Intelligence Unit 26 .Salaries and Inflation Average pay rise adjusted for inflation was highest in Oman and the UAE Real Salary Increase by Country.1% and 4. resulting in a real increase close to zero Kuwait 2.2% * Defined as nominal pay rise net of inflation rate Source: GulfTalent Survey.4% 1.8% 4.7% Bahrain’s already low average salary increase was almost entirely wiped out by the high rate of inflation.3% 1.2% 5.4% 2. Kuwait and Qatar. high inflation led to comparatively low real salary rises Saudi Arabia 3.0% 3.6% 3.6% 5.1% Bahrain 0.5% 5.1% In Saudi Arabia.0% 6.8% Qatar 2.2% respectively due to low inflation rates UAE 4.

Salaries by Segment Salary increase was highest among Finance professionals.4% 6.9% Sales 4.2% Oil & Gas 6.5% Marketing Real Estate 5.2% 4.8% IT Education 3. Construction saw the largest average increase Salary Increase by Job Category %.7% 5.5% Telecoms & IT 5.7% Source: GulfTalent Survey 27 .4% Logistics 5.7% Healthcare 5.7% Hospitality 5.0% Retail Construction 6.8% Banking 5.0% HR 5.1% Engineering 6. 2013 Salary Increase by Industry %. Among industry sectors.5% Admin 5. 2013 Finance 6.

700 1.9% Muscat Manama 3.3% UAE 1.050 1. In absolute terms.890 1. the UAE and Qatar remain the most expensive Inflation Rent for Two-bedroom Apartment USD per month. Wide variations based on location and quality Source: GulfTalent Survey 28 .1% Source: Economist Intelligence Unit * Average figure.1% 1.9% Sharjah 2.1% Jubail 1. 2013* 2013 2012 Dubai Doha 3. however.910 1.0% Dammam Riyadh 3.140 1.2% 2.7% 4.8% 3.050 950 830 780 740 720 670 Saudi Arabia Bahrain Qatar Kuwait Oman 1.1% Abu Dhabi Kuwait 3.1% Jeddah Khobar 1.Cost of Living Cost of living saw the fastest rise in Saudi Arabia.

2014 Forecast 29 .

7% Qatar 6.8% 5.Salaries by Country 2014 Salaries in most Gulf countries are expected to rise at a higher rate in 2014 Expected Average Pay Rise %.9% 4.6% Bahrain’s companies remain conservative in their salary decisions. 2014 Forecast Observations 2014 2013 Oman is forecast to once again enjoy the highest average pay rise in 2014 Oman 8.8% 6.9% 5.0% 7.0% Source: GulfTalent Survey of HR Managers 30 .4% Bahrain 3.3% Kuwait 5. despite indicators of an improving economic climate in 2014 UAE 5. driven by higher expected inflation as well as faster pace of growth Saudi Arabia 6.7% 5.4% UAE companies plan to offer higher salary increases than last year.

followed by Saudi Arabia Employment Growth by Country Net percentage of firms increasing headcount Observations 2014 2013 Across the GCC. with firms in Qatar at the forefront. in part related to the World Cup Bahrain’s employers plan to increase employment as the USD 10 billion GCC aid package starts to feed into the economy thoroughly and the political situation stabilises further Saudi Arabia 63% 62% UAE 57% 51% Oman 56% 38% Kuwait 51% 47% Bahrain 30% 9% Source: GulfTalent Survey of HR Managers 31 .Job Growth by Country 2014 An increasing percentage of GCC companies are planning to create jobs in 2014. more companies are planning to create jobs compared to 2013 Qatar 75% 41% Qatar’s companies will be most inclined to increase their headcount as the execution of major projects gathers momentum.