Today there is an unprecedented need to build a workforce that can support development and cope with evolving labour market needs in a period of profound economic uncertainty. Organizations large and small are stressing the importance of anticipating future skills needs to ensure that education and training systems are suitably adapted and to avoid skills gaps, shortages and mismatches. It is also widely recognized that occupations are evolving as industries undergo a profound restructuring, with some disappearing and new occupations emerging, demanding opportunities for continuous acquisition of new and competences.

Based on the many studies conducted recently by Middle East job site,, here are the top five recruitment trends expected to emerge across the region in 2016:

More career changes

The ‘Career Aspirations in the Middle East’ survey, released in January 2015, has revealed that almost seven in 10 respondents in the Middle East region have set professional goals for themselves, with 26 percent having set goals for as far as the next five years. The most common of these goals is to get a higher salary (54 percent), followed by getting a new job (53 percent) and learning new skills (52 percent). And while 64 percent of respondents feel they deserve to work in a higher level position, 73 percent of them said they would relocate to another country for employment purposes. Seventy two percent state that a key reason for seeking employment is to consistently learn and gain experience.

More women in the workforce

More than half (55 percent) of working women in the Middle East see a successful career as their main source of happiness, as per the ‘Status of Working Women in the Middle East’ survey of December 2014. It’s clear that women in the region have come a long way as successful professionals. The regional workplace has become much more diversified as an increased number of women have made their presence felt in many industries and across all professions and career levels. Today, the female workforce has expanded with exponential strength as 51 percent of women believe that job offers are made irrespective of gender.

With women feeling far more qualified and empowered in the workplace, we expect even more women to enter the workforce in 2016 and pave their way to the senior-most echelons of their organizations. According to the ‘First Jobs for Young Women in the Middle East and North Africa’ white paper by, YouGov and Education for Employment (EFE), knowing someone who works at the company and word of mouth are the two most helpful factors in securing a first job for young women in the Middle East.

Increased demand on transferable skills

In this era of high employment turnover and mobility, your transferable skills are the arsenal that ensures your marketability, increases your professional competitive advantage, and eases your transition into a new role. No matter how specific, specialized and limited you may think your past or present role to be, you are likely to have a set of highly valuable skills that are transferable across workplaces and hence essential to your career success.

The ‘Skills and Hiring Trends in the Middle East‘ poll, January 2015, has revealed that the top three most sought-after skills in 2015 were analytical thinking (18.5 percent), creativity (14 percent), and leadership (13.3 percent). The August 2015 Middle East Job Index survey by has also shown that employers in the region are mostly looking for candidates with good communication skills in English and Arabic (63 percent), as well as the ability to work under pressure (49 percent) and be a team player (48 percent).

More active online discussions

One of the most critical mistakes that job seekers make according to professionals who took part in the ‘Skills and Hiring Trends in the MENA’ poll is not having active online conversations. In 2016, job seekers will be offered a myriad of ways to share their views and knowledge, source feedback and discuss matters that affect their professional lives and growth. Platforms such as Specialties enable professionals to get together, ask specific questions and obtain expert opinions and answers. Engaging in professional discussions is a great way for employers to know more about a candidate.

More jobs in the SME sector

According to the August 2015 Middle East Job Index survey by, 75 percent of employers said they would be hiring in the next 12 months. This will particularly be the case for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with the trend continuing from past waves with most employers planning to hire more people. Unsurprisingly, the same survey reveals that significantly more respondents in the GCC – than North Africa or Levant – believe that their country of residence is more attractive as a job market in comparison to other countries in the region.

About is the #1 job site in the Middle East with more than 40,000 employers and over 23,250,000 registered job seekers from across the Middle East, North Africa and the globe, representing all industries, nationalities and career levels. Post a job or find jobs on today and access the leading resource for job seekers and employers in the region.



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