The Cooper Fitch Salary Guide for Telecommunications represents the predicted market-rate salary ranges for new recruits across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for 2020.
The rise of next-generation technologies such as 5G, Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI), as well as changes in the way consumers and businesses use traditional data and voice services, have altered the telecommunications industry in Saudi Arabia, with implications for hiring in this sector.
Our experts predict the creation of many new telecoms roles in 2020 and beyond, particularly in 5G development and AI, which could help automate back-office telecoms operations and customer service interactions. Sales and pre-sales specialists will also be in high demand, especially Saudi national talent in line with the kingdom’s Saudisation agenda.
In 2019, salaries rose by 2% across all aspects of the telecoms industry, including vendor, carrier and internet service provider (ISP) verticals. The steady upward trend is expected to continue in 2020 with an expected 2% rise in market salary range despite persistent challenges, our experts say. Last year, job vacancies in the telecoms industry were open for significantly longer than in previous years due to difficulties in finding the right candidate based on expertise and culture, compounded by the state requirement of hiring Saudi nationals for crucial strategic positions.
A high demand for Saudi national talent with techno-commercial skills, creating fierce competition for talent. candidates with technocommercial skills, who can steer firms through periods of industry-wide upheaval. Higher salaries in the public sector, as well as the perceived prestige of working within a government or semi-government telecoms company, increases already fierce competition in the industry. Many telecoms firms are focussing on ‘campus recruitment’, hiring Saudi national graduates and providing training to nurture them in their careers.
There are also skills shortages in the emerging TowerCo space (which involves maximising revenue from existing telecoms infrastructure), where it is common to see expats with technical and product development expertise being relocated from mature markets to fill the gap. It is a particularly new field in Saudi Arabia and many telecom tower vendors have yet to tap into the market, although this is expected to change in 2020.
A further hiring-related challenge is a rise in carrier and vendor firms launching operations in the kingdom without having a physical office, which makes it hard to recruit staff who prefer the social aspect of working alongside others. However, there is a rise in talent relocation to Saudi Arabia from other GCC countries, as job opportunities swell on the back of the government’s Vision 2030 economic agenda. This is boosting the talent pool for telecoms and other industries and keeping recruitment activity in Riyadh and Jeddah very busy.
To align operations more closely with Vision 2030 objectives, state-owned telco Saudi Telecoms Company (STC) has created new ventures, such as TAWAL and DARE, to diversify the group’s offering. TAWAL is responsible for leading STC’s activities in the emerging fields of 5G and IoT within the telecom tower space, and is likely to stimulate telecomsrelated hiring in the years ahead.
Download the full Telecommunications Salary Guide 2020 here
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