There has been a continuing pattern of HR professionals in oil and gas, petrochemical and related sectors being made redundant on a large scale. Some HR professionals with excellent education, CIPD qualification and expertise in the region are still struggling to find work after many sectors implemented hiring freezes. A number of companies decided to restructure internally (particularly in FMCG and pharmaceuticals), which also resulted in some HR professionals being relocated to other countries in Europe, or alternatively companies have been combining responsibilities to reduce headcount, as opposed to having too many specialist HR professionals across O&D, L&D, C&B, TA, strategy and HR operations.
As growth is anticipated in 2017, the demand for HR professionals, particularly those with experience of multinational companies currently based in the UAE and GCC, is expected to increase in the second half of the year. Sector experience is less important due to the transferable nature of HR skills and the previous restructuring has created gaps that businesses need to fill as they seek to expand, making HR
recruitment a priority once again.
We didn’t find that talent supply was an issue in 2016 since sweeping redundancy programmes put large numbers of experienced HR professionals out of work for prolonged periods. However, the current pool of HR talent, particularly those with multinational experience and Arabic language skills, will not be on the market for very long. In 2017 we expect to see increased demand for HR professionals with an Arabic background at supervisory and mid-levels. We have seen a shift from professionals being sourced internationally to a focus on local talent in HR, even for senior director and managerial positions. Nationalisation continues to be a priority in the UAE government sector and multiple sectors in Saudi Arabia, particularly in the HR function. As there is a lack of supply amongst these professionals, companies will continue to use specialist agencies to access UAE and Saudi nationals with HR experience in their respective countries.
SALARY & COMPENSATION TRENDS
In our experience, HR professionals who hold Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) qualifications or Masters Degrees are able to command higher salaries than their peers. CIPD qualified individuals are perceived as being able to make a noteworthy contribution to their organisations by enhancing HR Systems, building competitive C&B packages and analysing the market more efficiently. HR salaries are expected to increase by approximately 3.5-5.5% in 2017.
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