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Looking for a job? 2017 could be your year

Are you looking for a new job? Your chance of landing one in 2017 is highly likely if recent surveys are true reflection of labour markets in the GCC.

A whopping 72 per cent of employers took part in a study released by Hays Plc on Tuesday have plans to recruit additional staff in the next twelve months compared to the 37 per cent who did so last year.

This optimism follows a challenging year for the job market in 2016, as the tightening of company budgets in response to weak energy prices saw a decrease in spending on resource, the survey states.

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At least 37 per cent of employers reported a reduction in headcount within their organisation during the year that saw dwindling economic growth and huge cuts in government spending across the region. The figure is in contrast to 17 per cent in 2015 and to 11 per cent who anticipated job cuts when Hays surveyed them last year.

The number of redundancies also doubled year-on-year, with 4 per cent of employees reporting to have lost their job during the year.

“We have certainly noticed companies adopting a more strategic and cost conscious approach to spending on employee remuneration and the hiring of additional headcount,” says Chris Greaves, Managing Director of Hays, Gulf Region.

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“While this statistic may be viewed with some disappointment from employees, we are confident that the market is on the way up. Cost cutting exercises, such as company restructuring and redundancies, in response to low energy prices have already taken place. Many organisations are operating on minimum staff levels and are in a strong position to hire additional headcount in order to meet their 2017 business objectives,” adds Greaves in the latest Hays GCC Salary & Employment Report.

Meanwhile, another survey by career portal revealed that 98 per cent of professionals in Middle East are planning on looking for a new job this year.

Salary cut or hike?

On the other hand, if you are looking for a salary hike around this year, here is disappointing news.

In 2016, 9 per cent of employees working in the region experienced a pay cut, compared to 2 per cent in the year earlier and a further 52 per cent of respondents saw no change in their salary.

Looking ahead, the report predicts salaries to continue at a relatively flat rate compared to 2016, with the vast majority of employers (82 per cent) expecting pay rates to either remain the same or increase by less than 5 per cent in the next twelve months.

‘Standard annual pay increases across the whole company’ are also on the decrease, with only 7 per cent of working professionals experiencing a salary change as a result of this in 2016.

“Workforce salaries are one of the single biggest costs for employers and, given the challenging economic climate of the past twelve months, it is simply not viable to offer company-wide pay rises. Instead, we have seen added focus to be on individual performance related pay, which typically amounts to a lower spend for employers than company-wide pay increases,” says Greaves.

“Generally speaking, activity in the hiring market is looking positive. The GCC continues to be an attractive region for business, which sees ongoing and added investment from new market entrants, particularly SMEs locating themselves in free zones,” Hays’ Gulf region boss confirms to desperate job hunters.