Saudi Arabia employers to step up hiring in 2022, say Hays

The job market in Saudi Arabia has bounced back, as 80% of employers say they intend to expand their workforces in 2022, according to a new Hays report

Hiring activity in Saudi Arabia is expected to accelerate this year, as the country recovers following the pandemic, according to new research from recruitment company Hays.

The Hays Saudi Arabia Salary Guide 2022 report reveals that 79% of the Kingdom’s employers are feeling positive about the outlook of business in 2022, and as a result four in five employers (80%) plan to increase their company headcount.

This is nearly double the number of Kingdom’s employers who said they were hiring in 2021. “Two years on from the pandemic, the job market in Saudi Arabia has certainly bounced back,” Aaron Fletcher, business manager at Hays Saudi Arabia, says.

Job creation to support Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030

So, what’s driving such hiring activity this year? As well as emergence from the pandemic, new and ongoing initiatives surrounding Vision 2030 and the PIF megaprojects are driving growing opportunities in the job market, says Fletcher. Add to this the “multiple start-ups and MNCs [multinational corporations] establishing headquarters in region”.

The Kingdom’s Vision 2030 to diversify the economy away from oil includes development of US$1 trillion worth of new projects, which over the past four years has given birth to 555,000 new jobs, according to General Authority for Statistics.

The sovereign fund, a major part of the Vision 2030 initiative, launched a five-year strategy, with the aim of doubling its assets to US$1.07 trillion and plans to invest a minimum of US$40 billion a year into the domestic economy until 2025 and create 1.8 million jobs.

“As an emerging economy, many companies are entering the market now to secure their place and establish a market share ahead of the anticipated boom,” says Fletcher.

In-demand roles in digital transformation roles

As a result, the most in-demand roles in the Kingdom are for senior level professionals with leadership capabilities to drive commercial success and deliver projects on budget and on time.

Fletcher points to those professionals with “industry qualifications, years of like-for-like experience in both local and international markets, and strong commercial skills for making informed business decisions”.

Among the roles most in demand are business development directors and digital transformation specialists – those with the skills to implement streamlined, automated business processes. There is also strong demand for design and pre-construction professionals, as construction projects in the Kingdom build, and for legal professionals to deal with the many business transactions expected to take place.

The report reveals that employers in Saudi Arabia expect a shortage of candidates with technology and leadership skills 2022, and the higher salaries currently on offer for such roles reflect the war on talent that is happening regionally and worldwide.

“Competition among employers for the most highly skilled professionals is fierce and salary, of course, is a big factor when looking to attract the top talent,” says Fletcher. “That being said, flexible working options, career development opportunities and efficient onboarding processes all have significant impacts on talent attraction and must be considered by employers.”

According to LinkedIn Jobs on the Rise list 2022, the fastest-growing job titles in Saudi Arabia – those experiencing the highest growth rates from January 2017 through July 2021 – include:

  • Cyber security specialist – in demand in IT and services, government administration and e-learning
  • Legal specialist – in demand in financial services, legal services, property and government administration
  • Human resources operations specialist – in demand in retail, IT and services, and banking
  • Talent acquisition specialist – in demand in IT and services, healthcare, government administration
  • User experience designer – in demand in IT and services, e-learning, banking
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