Lebanon Businessnews News

Private sector jobs
to rise by ten percent
InfoPro survey shows that 43 percent

of Beirut-based businesses are recruiting

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Employment in the private sector is growing, according to a survey undertaken this summer by InfoPro Research and published in the latest issue of Lebanon Opportunities. The survey shows that 43 percent of businesses in Greater Beirut plan to increase their workforce this year. This would result in an average growth in private sector jobs of ten percent. The joblessness trajectory caused by the severe economic crisis seems to have already started to run its course since 2021 with most of the job losses having occurred in 2019 and 2020.

Just four percent of the companies surveyed stated that the number of their employees dropped between the beginning of 2021 and July 2022 while almost 60 percent reported a decrease in their workforce when comparing their headcounts in June-July 2022 to pre-crisis levels. An earlier InfoPro survey that was published in June 2020 shows that the unemployment rate had already reached 30 percent by that month.

Demand for certain job specialties are starting to show for the first time since the beginning of the crisis. Most of the recruitment is occurring in the information technology sector (IT), manufacturing, and the restaurant sector. The recruitment mainly aims to offset job losses caused by the brain drain and to boost production in order to meet growing exports and rising demand for local products. There is also a rise in seasonal demand as is the case of restaurants.

The IT and manufacturing sectors as well as some services such as advertising are increasing their workforce in order to meet growing demand in export markets. “A number of advertising companies have transformed themselves into hubs mainly for the Gulf region and to a lesser extent Europe in fields like art direction, graphic design, digital performance, and social media,” said George Jabbour, Chairman of the Advertising Association. According to Camille Moukarzel, Chairman of the Professional Computer Association, IT companies involved in outsourcing are increasing their workforce to meet growing global demand as they have become more cost-competitive due to their relatively lower labor cost. Paul Abi Nasr, board member of the Association of Industrialists, said that a number of manufacturers are creating sales teams to serve growing demand in their export markets.

Another major reason for the rise in recruitment is the severe brain drain. “There is a lack of talents. Out of 13,000 of people holding IT degrees around 8,000 used to work in Lebanon and 5,000 abroad. The situation has reversed now with 5,000 employed in Lebanon and 8,000 abroad,” Moukarzel said. The InfoPro survey shows that 60 percent of IT companies plan to hire senior developers and 20 percent of them want to employ web developers. According to Tony Ramy, Chairman of the Syndicate of Owners of Restaurants, Cafes, Night-clubs and Pastries, restaurants in Gulf countries are offering competitive salaries and attracting local talent. “The restaurant sector particularly needs kitchen staff especially chefs. Table service personnel could be easily hired,” he said. The InfoPro survey shows that 60 percent of restaurants plan to hire chefs and 30 percent of them want to employ waiters. The restaurant workforce registered in the National Social Security Fund, which totaled 160,000 before the crisis, ranges now between 60,000 and 70,000.

Part of the recruitment is driven by efforts of manufacturers to boost production as consumers are increasingly opting for local products which have become cheaper than imported goods, according to Abi Nasr. The InfoPro survey shows that 50 percent of factories are looking for salespeople and 30 percent of them plan to hire graphic designers. Abi Nasr said that demand for graphic designers could be attributed to more online sales. He said that manufacturing at large is the only sector which has largely maintained its labor force headcount at around 195,000 despite the crises although there are discrepancies among subsectors. According to Moukarzel, the IT market is witnessing some demand for hardware due to increasing work from home and remote schooling although hardware prices have become exorbitant when expressed in liras. He said that IT companies want to hire salespeople in order to boost their turnover. The InfoPro survey shows that 30 percent of IT companies plan to hire salespeople and 20 percent of them are looking for specialists in user interface design. “Demand for user interface designers is attributed to the growing importance of digital marketing, online business, and social media,” Moukarzel said.

Around 30 percent of factories want to recruit skilled workers, according to the InfoPro survey. Abi Nasr said that the lack of skilled factory workers is a chronic problem as vocational education and vocational training are inadequate. He said: “The industrial sector was heavily relying on foreign skilled factory workers but they have practically left the country. Replacing these workers takes time. While the issue of the scarcity of skilled factory workers is perennial, part of the rise in job offers in the restaurant sector is attributed to seasonal demand. Ramy said that the boom witnessed in the tourism sector this summer has positively impacted the restaurant sector especially rooftop restaurants and restaurants located in tourist resorts. “Around a quarter of new job offers are seasonal. Hiring is likely to slow down in winter,” he said.
Date Posted: Oct 07, 2022
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