Political unrest in Egypt and Tunisia could put off potential expats and job seekers according to a report from a Gulf recruitment agency.
The upheaval in Egypt in particular which has now been going on for two weeks and the way it has been portrayed in the media may deter some Western professionals from relocating to the region, a survey from GulfTalent has found.
Its sixth annual report, based on a survey of 32,000 professionals and 1,400 companies from the six Gulf Arab countries, says that events in Egypt and Tunisia have revealed other problems such as rising food prices and youth unemployment.
A large population of expatriates from Asia and Western countries such as Britain, live and work in the Gulf. In recent days television pictures have shown expats leaving Egypt and talking about their fears. Britain put on special flights so that its citizens could leave the country.
‘Employers in the Gulf are likely to face tougher workforce nationalisation targets in 2011, as governments accelerate existing efforts to create jobs for their nationals,’ the report also says.
Gulf states have ‘nationalisation’ schemes aimed at pushing their workers into the private sector which involve quotas as well as tax incentives for private companies to hire locals. However, Arab professionals from regional hotspots may flock to the more stable Gulf Arab countries for jobs, it added.
The survey also found that the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain had the lowest pay rises in 2010 at 5.2 and 4.9% respectively. Qatar had the highest pay rises at 6.9%. But more than half, 55%, of the professionals in the Gulf region did not get a pay increase in 2010. However, it is predicted that private sector salaries in the UAE will rise by 6.3% this year.
The economic crisis has also affected jobs. The survey says that 5% of Dubai residents are now commuting daily to the capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, which was less hit by the debt crisis, a five fold increase since 2008.
While in Qatar, job opportunities have doubled since 2008, as the tiny Gulf Arab country accounts for 16% of job vacancies in the region in 2010. ‘The trend has been driven by fast rising salaries, falling cost of living, growing employment opportunities and an improving international brand,’ said the report.
Also as Qatar is to host the 2022 Football World Cup there will be a boost in construction activity, other businesses and job opportunities.