Monday, June 15, 2009

Construction companies in the Gulf see rise in recruitment

Good and bad news.

Recruitments are back albeit slow and steady.
Salaries remain 30% lower with the lower rents.

Construction companies in the Gulf are witnessing a slight upward momentum in recruitment although salaries remain 30 per cent lower compared to last year.

Senior industry officials said things are improving in the UAE although it would take longer for Dubai since the market remains slow and many contractors are moving to Abu Dhabi.

That positive signs are visible.

The market has definitely picked up over the past month with a steady increase among all sectors. The past month has seen a definite upturn in the construction sector according to a HR man.r. He said the situation, especially in the UAE, is looking positive, as far as the situation across the GCC is concerned, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been the most consistent since January. But now we are witnessing some recruiting in the UAE, too.

Even though there seems to be a positive movement the situation continues to be tough.

There seems to be a little bit more positive discussion going on within the construction sector. However, the current situation remain extremely difficult. There are some significant funding issues as far as some projects are concerned.

The interesting trend seen during the past six months is the psychological impact on the market.

Now, people are beginning to overcome the psychological barrier. The industry has accepted the situation and is looking to move on.

There seems to be positivity in Saudi Arabia, which has some interesting projects. There are contractors who are looking for opportunities in the Kingdom. During the past six months, many of them have been driven towards diversification while the market in Dubai would take longer to recover.

In Dubai, no new recruitments are taking place. Whatever activity we see is for projects elsewhere. Contractors from Dubai migrating to Abu Dhabi are taking their staff with them.

Meanwhile, Drake and Scull International (DPI), which held an open-day recruitment drive on Saturday to fill vacant positions at their Saudi Arabian projects, said the response was overwhelming.

DSI said it was looking to recruit about 300 to fill current and future vacancies in its mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP); civil; and infrastructure, water and power business streamlines in Saudi Arabia. The positions included construction managers, project managers, design managers, quantity surveyors and other staff.

The response was good with more than 300 applicants for the 40 positions open for the civil division alone. The advantage of the slowdown is that today companies like DSI are able to find the talent they have been looking for.

Hyder Consulting, an engineering consultancy company, said yesterday they are recruiting some staff in Abu Dhabi and preference is being given to those in Dubai who have been impacted by the slowdown.

"We can say that there is a small upward movement visible as far as recruitment is concerned. We do not know if it is just a temporary phase or if it will continue and improve. However, new salaries are a bit lower compared to last year's pay packages," said an official from Hyder.

The salaries have dropped by 20 per cent to 30 per cent because rents and other allowances included in the package have dropped. The basic salary continues to remain the same, whereas the total package has fallen by about 30 per cent.

According to statistics released by Real HR, a project manager's salary has gone down from between Dh540,000 and Dh780,000 per annum to between Dh420,000 and Dh540,000.

The industry has seen salary cuts between 20 per cent to 40 per cent. These have been mainly in the construction sector where companies are more vulnerable to economic changes. However, candidates of exceptional quality and experience will always hold their value.

Most companies will always look to add value in order to remain competitive in the market place.

However, the candidate pool is significantly better than the same period in 2008. For companies in a good financial position, this is the perfect time to start recruiting.

As reported, the new salary range of quantity surveyors and architects is between Dh300,000 and Dh420,000 per annum.

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