Majority of KSA firms did not cut jobs in pandemic, survey shows

Majority of KSA firms did not cut jobs in pandemic, survey shows
The primary findings from the KSA market showed that 79 percent of companies had made no redundancies in 2020. (SPA)
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Updated 21 December 2020

Majority of KSA firms did not cut jobs in pandemic, survey shows

Majority of KSA firms did not cut jobs in pandemic, survey shows
  • A sizable proportion of KSA firms said they would increase salaries in 2021, but many were unsure, and an even greater percentage had yet to decide whether to pay 2020 bonuses
  • Half said business was ‘busy’ or had ‘picked up’ by Q4 this year

RIYADH: As 2020 draws to a close, the full impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the GCC job market has been revealed.

In their 2021 KSA and UAE salary guides, HR and recruitment advisory firm Cooper Fitch showed how much the job market was disrupted this year, as companies were forced to delay decisions on hiring new staff and awarding bonuses and pay rises.

However, despite persistently high levels of market uncertainty, fewer firms than expected said they made redundancies in 2020, and basic salary ranges and performance goals remained unchanged.

Trefor Murphy, CEO and founder of Cooper Fitch, said that the key finding from the salary guides was the continued high level of uncertainty among businesses, a trend the firm predicts will continue until factors negatively impacting the market gradually improve throughout 2021.

“Many of the companies we surveyed have some big decisions to make at the start of 2021, as a significant proportion had yet to decide if they would implement a merit salary increase for staff next year or pay out agreed bonuses for 2020,” he said.

“Our advice is to make these budgetary decisions now, to give your organization as much clarity as possible on how its operations will function as we enter the new year,” he added.

However, Murphy said that despite both local and national challenges, Cooper Fitch believed that both KSA and the UAE have “extremely resilient” markets with good bounce-back power.

“We also have the prospect of an approved COVID-19 vaccine on the horizon, which should further invigorate business and consumer sentiment and positively impact the recruitment market in 2021,” he added.

The salary guide revealed that in both markets, well over a quarter of organizations interviewed said there had been no changes to their recruitment practices in 2020, and that they were still hiring for replacement positions.




Trefor Murphy, chief executive and founder of Cooper Fitch

More than half of organizations interviewed in both markets said business activity was either busy or had started to pick up by the fourth quarter of 2020, pointing to a resurgence in sentiment and growth ahead of the new year.

The primary findings from the KSA market showed that 79 percent of companies had made no redundancies in 2020, 56 percent said business was either busy or had started to pick up by Q4 and 23 percent said they had implemented a hiring freeze across all roles in 2020.

The guides found that 22 percent of respondents thought that only essential roles would be replaced, 37 percent said they would implement a merit salary increase for staff in 2021 and 41 percent of companies said they would pay bonuses for 2020.

However, 24 percent of respondents said they were undecided, while 34 percent said they would only partially pay them, or not at all. Just over a third (35 percent) said there would be no changes to existing staff salaries in 2021.

A sizable proportion of KSA firms said they would increase salaries in 2021, but many were unsure, and an even greater percentage had yet to decide whether to pay 2020 bonuses. Respondents’ priorities for the year ahead was to finalize 2021 budgets and make bonus decisions, followed by contingency planning and “manpower planning,” which means hiring new staff and addressing skill gaps.

In both the UAE and KSA, technology, advisory and financial services firms performed the strongest amid a challenging 2020, while real estate and the public sector struggled the most.

 


Saudi Arabia announces 14 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 14 more COVID-19 deaths
Updated 34 min 16 sec ago

Saudi Arabia announces 14 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 14 more COVID-19 deaths
  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 505,003
  • A total of 8,226 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced 14 deaths from COVID-19 and 1,187 new infections on Friday.
Of the new cases, 256 were recorded in Riyadh, 212 in Makkah, 174 in the Eastern Province, 118 in Jazan, 64 in Madinah, 59 in Asir, 58 in Hail, 52 in Najran, 36 in Al-Baha, 31 in the Northern Borders region, 28 in Tabuk, and seven in Al-Jouf.
The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 505,003 after 1,176 more patients recovered from the virus.
A total of 8,226 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.
Over 26.3 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date.


Saudi Arabia keen to protect human rights, HRC chief says

Saudi Arabia keen to protect human rights, HRC chief says
Updated 30 July 2021

Saudi Arabia keen to protect human rights, HRC chief says

Saudi Arabia keen to protect human rights, HRC chief says
  • In observance of Friday’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, Al-Awwad said the Kingdom is making significant and constant efforts
  • Al-Awwad wants to criminalize and combat human trafficking through a set of actions and measures that ensure human dignity

RIYADH: Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad, president of the Human Rights Commission (HRC) and chairman of the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking, said Saudi Arabia is keen to protect and promote human rights.

Al-Awwad also wants to criminalize and combat human trafficking through a set of actions and measures that ensure human dignity and protect it from all forms of abuse and exploitation.

In observance of Friday’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, Al-Awwad said the Kingdom is making significant and constant efforts to combat human trafficking through the establishment of the Saudi National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking.

The committee enacts regulations and legislation that ensure protecting victims and safeguarding their rights on a local and global level.

Not only did the Kingdom issue regulations and legislation to combat human trafficking, but it was also keen to make the necessary efforts to enforce them, Al-Awwad said.


Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province conducts 1,524 COVID-19 health tours

Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province conducts 1,524 COVID-19 health tours
Updated 30 July 2021

Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province conducts 1,524 COVID-19 health tours

Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province conducts 1,524 COVID-19 health tours

DAMMAM: Municipalities throughout Saudi Arabia have ramped up efforts to monitor compliance with health and safety measures introduced to help stop the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The Eastern Province municipality recently carried out 1,524 inspection tours in one day at shopping malls, commercial centers, and stores.

Checks resulted in nine commercial outlets being shut down, while 77 violators were issued with penalties for ignoring health regulations, which included breaches of overcrowding rules and failure to use the Tawakkalna app.

Officials have urged members of the public to report any suspected health breaches by phoning the 940 call-center number or contacting authorities via the Balady app.


Seven Saudi mosques reopen after sanitization

Seven Saudi mosques reopen after sanitization
Updated 30 July 2021

Seven Saudi mosques reopen after sanitization

Seven Saudi mosques reopen after sanitization

RIYADH: The Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance has reopened seven mosques in four regions that were temporarily closed for cleaning after coronavirus disease infections were confirmed among worshippers.

The ministry said on Thursday that two mosques were reopened in Riyadh, two in Qassim, two in Hail, and one in the Eastern Province.

Coronavirus infections have led to the closure of 1,909 mosques in the Kingdom in the past 173 days. The mosques were reopened after cleaning measures were completed.

The ministry urged worshippers and employees to follow precautionary measures, including wearing face masks, using their own prayer mats and maintaining social distancing.


21 members of Saudi-backed team killed clearing Houthi mines in Yemen

21 members of Saudi-backed team killed clearing Houthi mines in Yemen
Updated 30 July 2021

21 members of Saudi-backed team killed clearing Houthi mines in Yemen

21 members of Saudi-backed team killed clearing Houthi mines in Yemen

JEDDAH: Twenty-one members of a Yemen-based team of Saudi and foreign mine clearance experts have lost their lives over three years operating in what has become known as the world’s largest minefield.

The tragic death toll was revealed in figures showing the scale of the project being carried out in the war-torn country in cooperation with local Yemeni teams under the umbrella of the Saudi Project for Landmine Clearance (Masam).

Launched by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) on June 25, 2018, the initiative has so far cost $133 million, Masam’s director, Osama Al-Gosaibi, told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

He said the project’s field teams had dismantled 263,797 landmines, unexploded ordnance, and other deadly explosive devices. Since the start of the program up until July 23 this year, bomb squads dealt with 169,792 unexploded ordnances, 83,943 anti-tank mines, and 3,984 anti-personnel mines covering 25 million square meters of Yemeni territories.

The Yemen government said that the Iran-backed Houthis had planted more than 1 million landmines in the country since the start of the conflict in 2015, turning it into the most-mined nation since World War II.

KSrelief recently extended the Masam contract for another year, at a cost of $33.6 million. The project is carried out by Saudi and international experts through Yemeni teams that have been trained to remove all kinds of mines planted randomly by Houthi militias.

Al-Gosaibi pointed out that one of the main challenges faced by the teams was having to work without maps indicating the location of mines. In many cases they had to rely on local residents identifying suspected mined areas, which significantly slowed the clearance process, he added.

KSrelief’s general supervisor, Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, said that the renewal of the Masam contract with the executive partner was, “out of the center’s sense of humanitarian responsibility toward the Yemeni brothers.”

He added: “It is extremely important to clear the Yemeni territories of the mines that Houthi militias manufactured and planted in a random, unpredicted, and camouflaged manner and that have caused permanent disabilities and injuries and human losses, including women, children, and seniors.”

According to statistics published by the Yemeni Observatory on Landmines in March, devices planted by Houthis in Taiz alone had killed and injured 3,263 civilians since 2015.

Data from the Yemeni Coalition to Monitor Human Rights Violations, also known as the Rasd Coalition, showed 1,929 civilians, including 357 children and 146 women, have been killed in the past six years, and 2,242 civilians, including 519 children and 167 women, were disabled due to landmines.

During that same period, the coalition documented the destruction and damage of more than 2,872 public and private facilities in several Yemeni governorates, all due to anti-personnel and anti-tank landmines.