2016 was a positive year for hiring within the property and construction sector, albeit at a more moderate pace than the previous year. Most of our hiring activity took place across key senior level appointments with master developers and PMCs in the GCC looking to attract top talent from their main competitors on the development side of their business. Contracting, interiors and facilities management remained steady with a core focus on building commercial teams in particular. Preparation for Expo 2020 will continue to provide this sector with opportunities and keep it robust throughout 2017. Property and construction professionals are optimistic about 2017 and positive about their career prospects. It's clear that the GCC is an attractive region for expatriate construction professionals to work in, with the UAE continuing to top their list of preferred locations. Saudi comes in second because of the higher salaries on offer, while Oman and Qatar also remain key regions for expatriates. 2017 is a major year for the tier 1 construction companies and those with well educated and well connected commercial teams will push ahead, ensuring their delivery teams are also in place. Overall, companies with a proven track record of delivery within the GCC, coupled with a clear vision in the run up to Expo 2020, will perform well.
For 2017, we expect a continuation of trends from 2016, which will see high demand for operations, commercial and engineering talent across developers, contracting, interior firms and facilities management. The focus for construction companies will be to strategically locate and improve access to the talent available in the market. Construction companies predominantly recruit regionally given the fewer risks associated with it and there has been a growing pattern of recruiting staff from their main competitors who have the right skillset and can add immediate value.
SALARY & COMPENSATION TRENDS
It is our opinion that construction companies will fall behind the curve in 2017 if they do not invest in the necessary data to help build competitive pay structures across their operations and commercial teams. This information will be vital in the year ahead to ensure plans are internally equitable and externally competitive. Meeting these criteria will enable construction firms to attract, retain and motivate the right number of suitable employees. Salaries are expected to remain the same across managerial positions, while critical positions in each individual firm can expect an average of 5-7% increase. Construction companies will continue to be cautious in relation to salaries in 2017, due to increasing competition in the market driven by working on very low margins in order to secure projects. However, companies will need to increase budgets if the goal is to attract key individuals from their main competitors.
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