CAIRO: Twenty-two percent of Egyptian employers say they will definitely hire new employees in the next three months and 29 percent say they will probably do so, according to a recent survey.
Conducted by Bayt.com and YouGov Siraj, the study found that in the longer run, 29 percent of surveyed companies in Egypt will certainly employ new people and 36 percent will probably do so.
The numbers for Egypt are slightly below the regional averages of 27 percent for definitely hiring and 29 for probably hiring in the next three months.
The champions in this category are the Gulf states led by Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Forty-three percent of Bahraini and 33 percent of Saudi companies will be looking for new staff in the current quarter.
The relatively low demand in the Egyptian labor market compared to the Gulf is reflected in opinions about job prospects. According to the survey, people are more pessimistic about the Egyptian job market than they are optimistic.
Twenty-seven percent of Egyptian respondents say that the job market is much more or a little more attractive in comparison to other countries in the Middle East. On the other hand, 47 percent say that it is slightly less or much less attractive than in other MENA countries.
According to a 2009 report by the International Labor Organization, half a million Egyptian migrant workers were expected to return from the Gulf due to the economic crisis. The expected drop of remittances is between 10 and 20 percent.
Some economic analysts expected this reverse labor movement to benefit Egypt, but with lower hiring rates the country might be unable to accommodate returning workers and this trend might be reversed.
The majority of Egyptian companies looking for new employees (46 percent) will be taking on up to five new employees; 22 percent expect to have between six to 10 new openings available.
“Clearly, the Middle East, and more specifically the Gulf, is growing as a global finance and commerce hub, and as such, graduates in these fields are likely to find it easier than others to find employment, said Joanna Longworth, chief marketing officer, YouGov Siraj.
The figures also indicate what types of industries dominate in this region, and it is clearly those concerned with business and trade.
The most sought-after diplomas in Egypt are in commerce and engineering – 26 and 20 percent respectively of the surveyed employers indicate that these are most emphasized in the hiring process. The most desirable personal skills are good communication abilities and command of both English and Arabic (68 percent), as well as team-player skills (48 percent).
Thirty-seven percent of the participants in the survey specified experience in management as an attribute of the ideal job candidate; 28 percent are looking for sales and marketing experience and 27 percent – for computer skills.
When asked to indicate which industry attracts or retains Egypt’s top talent, 38 percent of the respondents chose telecommunications and 33 percent banking and finance. One of the fastest growing industry, IT, was selected by only 18 percent.
At the Seventh Business Roundtable with the Egyptian government this week, the Economist Intelligence Unit expressed concerns about the increasing unemployment among young people.
Officials say that the economy must grow at above 7 percent to accommodate the new entrants to the job market each year. With Egypt’s projected GDP growth of 5.5 percent, officials said an increase in unemployment is not attributed to layoffs but due to the lack of job creation.