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More Jobs in the Gulf Expected as Business Confidence Rises

Middle East : 30 June 2011

HSBC Business Confidence Index Finds That GCC Companies Are Positive

Middle East businesses are confident overall, as revealed by the GCC Business Confidence Index rising by more than two points for the second quarter.

The newest results state that more companies are positive about hiring and investment budgets, indicating that many are growing. CEO of the HSBC Qatar branch, Abdul Hakeem Mostafawi stated that confidence in GCC businesses has increased and the positive attitude uncovered in the latest index is encouraging. Mostafawi said that three out of five businesses in the survey feel that the performance of their organisation will improve and almost 40 percent indicated that an increase in customers is expected.

Attempts were made for the first time to measure any impact the regional unrest has had on the level of confidence in businesses. Mostafawi expressed surprise with the results. Although 60 percent of those surveyed felt that the existing political turmoil would have a negative effect on their business, the unrest has not affected access to credit. Fifty one percent of survey respondents said they had the same access to credit this year and a further 40 percent stated that their access has improved in the last year.

HSBC’s Business Confidence Index for the GCC started in February of 2007 and is conducted among 1,500 to 2,000 businesses each quarter, representing those in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the UAE, as well as Saudi Arabia. This recent report, from June 2011, covered a sampling of 1,696 GCC companies. Based on the results from February 2007, this index is calculated on a quarterly basis covering components such staffing needs and business expectations for the coming quarter as well as the coming year, comparing those figures to the previous year.

Hay Group Survey Finds That 91 Percent of Businesses in Omani Are Set to Hire

A recent survey by Hay Group found that 91 percent of firms in Oman are looking to hire nationals after the recent turmoil. Announcements that 50,000 employment positions will open up this year also drove the number of recruiting Omani firms higher.

Hay Group’s survey found that as infrastructure and tourism open wide in the last six months of the year, recruitment would improve steadily.

Manager of reward information services at Hay Group, Warren D’Cruz stated that the firm’s survey looked at Oman only and went on through the protests, indicating that area organizations are genuinely improving and on the path to recruitment.

D’Cruz said that 91 percent are those surveyed indicated they would be hiring nationals in 2011. These figures show that employment opportunities are opening up, likely thanks to the evolution of the tourism industry that has seen a new airport and numerous hotels being developed in Muscat.

D’Cruz also stated that salaries in Oman have been increasing this year, by up to 6 percent. The area also has lower prices than other Gulf regions, creating an attractive climate for long-time employees as more Omani nationals fill up the payrolls of these firms.

Data from Hay Group indicated that Omani salaries increased by about 5 to 6 percent, well in line with the increases in other Gulf nations. Since the cost of living is lower in Oman, local firms will have better retention rates.

D’Cruz said that nationalization would improve over the rates of previous years, with the government declaring that 50,000 nationals will be recruited in 2011. Other recruitment websites have predicted salary increases of up to 7 percent in the sultanate with indications that professionals in Oman experienced a 6.4 percent increase in 2010.

Survey Reports that Saudi Has the Best Outlook for Recruitment Seen in Two Years

The Business Index from the Banque Saudi Fransi stated the outlook for recruitment in the Kingdom is the best it’s been in two years.

About 82.4 percent of executives within Saudi Arabia indicated that hiring is expected to occur within the coming six-month period, compared to the 58.9 percent in the second quarter.

The third quarter survey found a massive shift in the recruitment plans of Saudi businesses, according to the report this is likely as a result of the Nitaqat Saudization program announced by the government.

Recruitment is happening in both the private and public sector, with government pledges concerning tens of thousands of positions for teachers and those holding health diplomas, as well as workers within market supervision and security forces. The Business Index from the Banque Saudi Fransi looks at the perspectives of managers in businesses covering many sectors. The Index hit 101.9 points in Q3 for 2011, an increase from the previous quarter that reached 101.7 points. This rise was due to new plans for recruitment, higher oil prices and a positive economic outlook.

About 88.3 percent of those surveyed have expectations for increased revenue growth in the fourth quarter, based on improvements in private consumption and economic expansion supported by oil prices. This figure increased from 81 percent in the Q2 survey.

Around 88.6 percent of respondents expected better performance in their firm’s bottom line for the balance of the year, increased from 88.2 percent in the Q2 survey. The majority of those surveyed, 51.4 percent, stated expectations for oil prices to fall between $100 and $120 per barrel.

Paul Holdsworth, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News
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