The Cooper Fitch Salary Guide for Human Resources represents the predicted market-rate salary ranges for new recruits across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for 2020.
The human resources (HR) industry in Saudi Arabia is maturing as organisations review their priorities and grow their horizons in line with the Vision 2030 agenda. State-led initiatives to develop the private sector are bearing fruit, with substantial growth in business creation over the past year and a positive impact on recruitment activity.
The majority of HR salaries remained stable in 2019 and are expected to continue so in 2020. However we do not expect a change in the market salary range. The roles that have seen the most significant declines are within organisations tightening their budgets, while specialist roles such as learning and development (L&D) and compensation and benefits (C&B) enjoyed the most significant increases.
In general, there will be significant demand for HR professionals across the kingdom, particularly in Riyadh, Jeddah, Yanbu, Dammam and Khobar due to their high levels of foreign and local investment. On the flipside, flatter economic growth in the GCC has prompted some firms to restructure and retract from the region. Some multinationals have centralised their Middle East HR operations outside the kingdom, resulting in fewer roles available in some sectors. However, start-ups and homegrown companies are attaching increased importance to HR as they search for staff to help them grow.
The most in-demand roles will be generalists (depending on the size of the HR function, as this attribute is particularly useful for smaller firms); C&B professionals with local experience to ensure policies are in line with labour laws; L&D professionals to retain staff and help them perform better, and organisational development, especially for start-ups. Businesses consider situational and adaptive leadership styles necessary when appointing senior positions.
Across the GCC, there is a shortage of candidates with recognised HR industry qualifications such as CIPD, PHR and SHRM. However, this is likely to improve in future as more HR professionals seek to enhance their knowledge through postgraduate courses or training programs.
Some challenges that impacted the Saudi HR industry in 2019 will continue this year, including the drive for Saudisation of the workforce, with government-set targets leading to skills shortages for specialist roles. Attracting expatriate talent to Saudi Arabia is another challenge, as some professionals prefer the more international environment of the UAE or other geographical locations in the GCC or Asia when considering relocation.
Internally, firms are seeking to increase opportunities for Saudi nationals and invest in their development as future leaders across different functions in line with Vision 2030 objectives. Saudi national talent is in particularly high demand, and retaining skilled national employees has proven challenging unless businesses are in a position to offer long-term incentive and growth programmes. Firms would do well to ensure they have a clear career progression plan in place for new recruits.
Download the full Human Resources Salary Guide 2020 here
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