The job market in Saudi Arabia has bounced back from the pandemic slowdown with 79 percent of employers feeling positive about the outlook for business this year and the majority planning to increase headcount in the next 12 months, according to recruitment firm Hays.

A record 80 percent of employers intend to increase their workforce in 2022, up from the 43 percent who did so in 2021 and 29 percent in 2020, according to data from the "Hays Saudi Arabia Salary Guide 2022".

The economy of the OPEC’s biggest oil producer expanded by 3.3 percent in 2021 led by a 10.8 percent rise in oil activities and a 5 percent increase in non-oil activities, the Saudi General Authority for Statistics said last month. According to government estimates, the Saudi economy is set to grow 7.4 percent this year.

The kingdom's Vision 2030 transformation agenda has plans for almost $1 trillion worth of infrastructure and real estate projects across the country. This is expected to create new job opportunities.

“New and ongoing initiatives surrounding Vision 2030 and the PIF mega projects are driving growing opportunities in the job market, as well as multiple start-ups and MNCs establishing headquarters in region," said Aaron Fletcher, Business Manager at Hays Saudi Arabia.

He said candidates most in-demand in Saudi Arabia include those with industry qualifications and strong commercial skills for making informed business decisions.

"As such, we have seen demand to be highest for senior-level professionals, who are equipped with the relevant years of experience and who have the leadership capabilities to drive commercial success and deliver projects on budget and to time."

(Reporting by Brinda Darasha; editing by Seban Scaria)