Impact of pandemic on the recruitment industry in the Middle East


The high-income Gulf countries have outshined their middle and low income neighbours amidst the pandemic. As compared to Jordan and Morocco, the GCC countries have responded to the influence of COVID 19 in a more organised way. Even though, almost all major industries (such as Infrastructure Development, Oil & Gas, Tourism etc) took a hit in the first phase of pandemic, the country is on its course to bounce back. The HR / Recruitment Industry and specialist played an important role in this journey to bounce back. The emerging trends showcase the adaptability and new ways of hiring trends such as the use of technology, better coordination and responsibility of partner in the sourcing country, revision in salary along with other factors that boosted the growth of the recruitment sector, Middle East witnessed a plethora of segments changing and shaping hiring & staffing operations.

Let us see how the pandemic influenced recruitment operations in the Middle East due to the outbreak of the pandemic followed by the response of the Gulf countries:

1. Use of Technology

Prior to the pandemic scenario, most of the clients preferred a Campaign to select the candidates. This required travel and direct interaction with all the prospective candidates. However, after the outbreak of COVID 19, recruiters started relying on Video interviews and invested on tech resources to finalize the candidate. Unlike the earlier system of hiring through physical one-on-one communication, clients adopted the culture of interviews through video calling process.

Opportunity: Although, the verification of candidates’ skill may have been a basic hindrance in The Video Culture of recruitment, it saves a lot of travel time. With more equipped partners in the sourcing countries, the process can be made simple. A lot of Sourcing Partners in India have been upgrading themselves for the same.

Change in the recruitment process in the Gulf Countries

The clients are trusting the recruitment consulting agencies to ascertain the eligibility of the candidate. Be it through sourcing the data, documentation or completing the process of selection, everything has been properly planned by recruitment agencies to facilitate the client requirements. Scheduling the interview, recording feedback and communicating with the clients regarding the shortlisted data for recruitment have helped Gulf countries in coping up with the hiring process during the pandemic. There has been a remarkable transition in the selection process in the Middle East.

  • Revised salary structure

Slash in the salary structure was visible while addressing recruitment process for various industries. Limiting the percentage of employees visiting physical office was also a major constraint in the path of productivity. Over 23% cuts in pay was noticed in Oman’s recruitment policies due to the pandemic. Financial burden of employment costs experienced by employers is lessened through various measures.

Temporary salary reduction was one such measure, wherein, the document was signed by employer and employees regarding reduction in salary. Moreover, there was an amendment in the revised salary structure which implied the permanent salary reduction on mutual terms on document by the two parties.

  • Industries that majorly saw change after COVID 19

Real Estate, Construction, Infrastructural development, Travel & Tourism, Oil & Gas and Food & Beverage are some of the industries which have been impacted by the global pandemic situation of COVID 19. In terms of various upcoming projects in the Middle East, the EXPO 2020 was postponed to 2021, Qatar World Cup preparations will also be delayed and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) activities are put on hold.

After the emergence of new normal phase of recruitment due to the pandemic, most of the Middle East countries are relying on HR consulting firms in sourcing country to hire new staff. Not only are they investing on few services of hiring & staffing, but, relying on recruitment agencies for selection, documentation , verification and other HR operations.

One of the trusted HR consulting firms in India with a vast exposure in domestic and international market. We have already have footprints in Gulf countries, Maldives and Europe with a comprehensive hiring & staffing solution according to their preferences in the changing phase of recruitment in the Middle East. With the optimal utilization of technology, Byword HR Services have tied up with various testing centres which conduct skill tests for the candidates and a real time feedback of the test is shared with the client for further discretion. In short, we make the recruitment for all sized businesses simplified and authentic through our technologically advanced screening of candidates.