World Economy

Job Opportunities Flop in Most (P)GCC States

Job Opportunities Flop in Most (P)GCC States  Job Opportunities Flop in Most (P)GCC States

The number of job opportunities posted online for qualified job candidates in the Middle East Arab states registered its first negative growth in April since January 2015, according to the Monster Employment Index.

The index was down by 4% year-on-year, while showing a 10% slump in new job opportunities compared to the previous month, Arabian Business reported.

The drop in job opportunities comes as the six-nation (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman) see a slowdown in their economies on the back of prolonged lower oil prices.

Monster said in a statement that in the UAE, demand for healthcare professionals was strongest, while the healthcare industry appears to be the biggest generator of employment opportunities.

Year-on-year, the UAE recorded the steepest rise in employment opportunities compared to its neighboring countries, Monster added, with hiring activity growing at 18%.

While Bahrain grew at a modest 5% year-on-year, Oman, Kuwait, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have all slipped into negative growth.

"For the first time since January 2015, the Monster Employment Index for the Middle East has slipped below the year-ago level. At the same time, e-recruitment activity in April 2016 is 10% lower than in March," said Sanjay Modi, managing director of

A recent survey among investment experts suggests uncertainty in the (P)GCC economy, with low oil prices, geo-political instability and lower expenditures being the most pressing concerns.

The Monster survey revealed that the banking and financial services industry is one of the worst performing in April, with a negative 30% growth compared to the same month last year.

Abu Dhabi's state-owned National Oil Co plans to cut 5,000 jobs by the end of the year, and 2,000 of the lay-offs have already been carried out, Middle East news service MEED reported on Sunday. ADNOC has roughly 55,000 staff.

Recently construction giant Saudi Binladin Group, which is close to the ruling regime, has laid off 70,000 foreign workers, amid heavy government spending cuts and a row over alleged unpaid salaries, Aljazeera reported.

Workers were issued permanent exit visas to leave the kingdom, but many have refused to leave because they have not been paid for months.

Banks, too, across the (P)GCC are resorting to job cuts and tighter recruitment policies to trim costs as the banking sector profitability has come under pressure, Gulf News reported.

Last month the National Bank of Dubai confirmed that two of its group entities together slashed 300 jobs as part of internal restructuring.

Sharjah Rents Slump

Rents in Sharjah’s residential property market are set to continue to decline throughout 2016, following an average fall of 5.7% during the first quarter of the year, according to property consultants and estate agents Cluttons, Trade Arabia reported.

Its Spring 2016 Property Market Outlook report said the Q1 slump has dragged the annualized rate of change in rents down to 8.3%.

Cluttons said that unlike last year, the fall in villa rents have accelerated, with average rates declining by 13.2% in Q1 alone while average apartment rents fell by 1.5% in the first quarter, leaving them 7.7% down compared to Q1 2015 figures.

Credit Ratings Downgraded

Credit rating agency Moody’s has released its ratings for many (P)GCC countries, Moody's reported.

Moody’s confirmed the Aa2 long-term issuer ratings for the UAE, assigning a negative outlook for the country.

Moody’s downgraded Saudi Arabia, assigning it A1, down from Aa3. “A combination of lower growth, higher debt levels and smaller domestic and external buffers leave the kingdom less well positioned to weather future shocks,” the statement added.

Qatar’s rating has remained stable at Aa2, but the tiny yet rich Persian Gulf country also faces a negative outlook.

Moody’s also announced a downgrading of the government of Oman’s long-term issuer ratings, from A3 to Baa1, while assigning a stable outlook.

Bahrain was also downgraded by Moody’s latest rating, from Ba1 to Ba2, and the country was assigned a negative outlook as well. Moody’s views that the government of Bahrain will continue to “weaken materially” in coming years.

While confirming Kuwait’s long-term credit issuer ratings at Aa2, Moody’s assigned the country a negative outlook.