Expats looking for a job where a decent salary increase can be expected might want to look to the Middle East and North Africa where professional job opportunities and wages are rising.

Professional job opportunities in the region are set to rise by 8% to 10% in 2014, according to a new report from recruitment firm Morgan McKinley. Salaries are also expected to grow by 6% to 8%.


The report, compiled annually by the firm, says that opportunities and salaries were subdued in 2012 due to reverberations from the Eurozone crisis but in 2013 economic confidence returned to the United Arab Emirates and opportunities increased by 12%.

The recruiter forecasts that this restored positivity will continue to gain momentum throughout 2014, as the region focuses on the infrastructure, tourism and construction sectors, with Expo 2020 in Dubai predicted to be a major factor in jobs growth.

The Salary Survey Guide 2014 provides a barometer of professional employment activity across a number of sectors, including banking and financial services, accountancy and finance, energy, construction, supply chain and procurement, manufacturing and office support.

It says that a much greater emphasis is being placed on attracting financial professionals with formal qualifications and as the UAE transforms itself into a regional business hub, Arabic speakers who can operate in the GCC as well as MENA are in great demand.

‘The survey points to a number of key growth areas for 2014, in terms of both job opportunities and salary levels. Rising levels of demand for consumer goods means that sales and marketing and supply chain professionals will be particularly sought after across the Gulf region,’ said Trefor Murphy, Morgan McKinley’s UAE managing director.

‘Perhaps the one significant shift we have seen, however, is an increased appetite from employers to bring expertise into the market from overseas, Europe and Canada are two such examples, due to a lack of desired skill sets locally,’ he pointed out.

The demand for PR and sales and marketing professionals flat lined for the majority of 2013, but there was a significant increase in requirements for professionals in these areas throughout the last quarter of 2013.

We’re seeing a growth in opportunities for power generation professionals, triggered by the boom in activity across both the green and traditional energy sectors. Inward and local investment in sectors such as FMCG, packaging and chemicals is creating demand for manufacturing professionals and with many new projects announced recently, there is a particular requirement for specialists in the construction oil and gas industries, with Iraq especially short of oil industry experts,’ said McKinley.

‘Finally, with the three main credit rating agencies improving their ratings, the high level of business activity, and improvements in balance sheets and liquidity, the banking and financial services sector is experiencing buoyant employment levels,’ he concluded.

But the report points out that despite this positive picture for the region’s professional job seekers, changes in the cost of living and the resulting impact on disposable income are far harder to predict.