Majority of businesses in the Gulf have recovered from the impacts of Covid-19

Majority of businesses in the Gulf have recovered from the impacts of Covid-19

More than half of employers in the region have recovered from the negative impacts of Covid-19 on their business operations, that’s according to Hays new report Covid-19 Business Impacts One Year On.

Based on a market-wide survey of more than 1,000 professionals working throughout the Gulf region, 52% said their organisation was in either a ‘business as usual’ or ‘growth’ phase of operation following the outbreak of Covid-19 last year. Of those that are still recovering, 28% expect their operations to be back to pre-pandemic levels or beyond in the next 12 months, suggesting that 80% of organisations will be back on their feet, if not growing by 2022.

“Our own experiences of working with employers and job seekers certainly confirm that business activity is on an upward trajectory. We saw job numbers decline across all sectors in the region from April through to late summer of 2020 however, opportunities have been increasing significantly since the end of last year and sentiment is generally very positive,” says Kieran Fitzgerald, Senior Operations Director of Hays Middle East.

Findings from the survey suggest that total job numbers for the region will be up on last year, with 58% of employers stating that their current headcount is either the same as or greater than their pre-pandemic numbers, and a significant 74% expecting their headcount to further increase this year.

When it comes to salaries, 71% of working professionals in the region said their salary was either the same or higher than before the pandemic and a promising 39% of employers expect salaries within their organisation to increase before the end of the year.

“These statistics are a clear sign that market confidence is returning, if not exceeding pre-Covid-19 levels locally. While there remains a proportion of the population who are battling the negative repercussions of the pandemic, the outlook is largely optimistic. From what we have seen in the market and based on those employers intentions stated in the survey, we expect salary trends to be much the same as they have been regionally for a number of years, whereby more than half of all professionals salaries will remain the same year-on-year and up to 40% will increase on prior year,” adds Kieran.

The new era of work
While findings suggest salaries are likely to follow trends seen in previous years, there have been significant changes in working patterns and the flexible working options offered by organisations in the region over the past 12 months. The survey found 69% of organisations now offer remote working, compared to a lower 43% who did so at the start of 2020. The most common option is complete flexibility to work from home, as offered by 38% of employers. This is followed by 2-3 days a week remote working, offered at 18% of organisations. From an employer perspective, findings show that remote working is influential in attracting and retaining talent, with 42% of working professionals saying remote work is an important factor when considering an employer.

The integration of remote work within organisations has also had some impact on office space and rents in the region. Of those employers who took part in the survey, 2% have closed their offices altogether in the last year, 11% have downsized and a further 13% intend to do the same by the end of the year.

“These numbers are interesting however, we are seeing that there remains a strong preference for fully equipped office space and setups. While remote working has been paramount in enabling organisations to continue operating throughout the pandemic, as well as opening up many new opportunities in the world of work, the human element of our working lives, including face to face interaction is also critical to business success. The pandemic has only reinforced this and therefore we expect the hybrid working model, which combines both remote and in-office working, to be the most common setup for organisations going forward,” said Kieran.


Hays Covid-19 Business Impacts One Year On Report
Based on survey findings from more than 1,000 professionals working in the Gulf region, the report looks at:
  • How workforce numbers and salaries have been impacted since the outbreak of the pandemic
  • Flexible working and the options most commonly offered by employers
  • Vaccination uptake and employment considerations
  • Business outlook and hiring intentions for the rest of 2021
For more information or to download your copy of the publication, click here.

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