What a year it has been… We’ve begun Q4 in one of the most competitive job seeking markets many of us have ever experienced. Like all support services, in challenging times HR departments are often the first to be hit with job casualties and the last to get the nod to rehire, and this year is no exception. However, high performing HR is vital to the health and success of an organization so demand will always bounce back. I’m happy to say, we’re now seeing tentative moves in the right direction, and this is something job seekers can be extremely positive about.
The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been brutal for many industries with areas of expertise disproportionately affected. What really surprised me over the past few months was the huge amount of HR professionals actively seeking roles. It was not just candidates who had been affected by redundancies, but also many wanting to relocate to this region, and others employed here seeking positions with more stability. We found ourselves overwhelmed with the numbers of candidates contacting us. I could really sense their frustration, and as a recruiter, I also felt frustrated at not being able to immediately respond to all of them.
The market is finally moving
It was in August that I noticed a shift… Many HR professionals had decided to leave the region to return to their home countries, which would mean more opportunities for others once business began to regenerate. Over the past number of weeks, there has been a marked increase in roles being advertised and I’m hearing of more upcoming opportunities as companies begin to build talent pipelines. However, many companies seem to be recruiting directly, which is never good news for agencies!
Where demand lies
Much of the key areas of expertise employers require are employer branding, talent retention and development, employee engagement, workplace planning and transformation. As employers seek to hire the best and most suitable talent, they are being incredibly specific in their requirements regarding industry experience, qualifications, skillset, and personality. Industry-wise, education is moving rapidly, with retail and hospitality also among those sectors looking to recruit. Regionally, Saudi Arabia has a lot of demand for talent just now, I’m seeing attractive mid to senior HR roles in local groups and multinationals, as well as within JVs and investments, and not just for Saudi nationals.
The reality of packages
It’s still too soon to predict the outcome for packages. The roles I’ve worked on recently have been lower than usual. For example, there were two recent Director level roles offering up to AED 40,000. We’re also seeing offers subject to cuts of 20-30% across all sectors. Unfortunately, I think large packages are a thing of the past. Ultimately, for those remaining in the region, expectations will need to be adjusted.
The bottom line is, it’s getting busier. We’re finally seeing recovery and hopefully it will continue to gain pace. So, hang in there everyone.