Saudi Arabia has topped the list of the world’s most optimistic countries regarding last year’s job prospects, according to Gallup surveys conducted in 146 countries in 2011.
According to the survey, 69 percent of Saudi respondents said it was a good time for them to find jobs, whereas 19 percent said it was a bad time, and the remaining 12 percent said they didn’t know.
All top 10 countries whose residents showed positive stance about the job market were developing countries, except Singapore. Oil-rich Middle Eastern nations took four of the top spots; Saudi Arabia and Oman led internationally with 69 percent of residents saying it was a good time to find a job, despite relatively high unemployment rates.
As global demand for oil continues to increase, the oil-based economies in these countries, as well as in Qatar and Kuwait, have continued to shelter their residents from the recessionary pressures felt in other countries, the survey said.
However, despite the widespread perception that it was a good time to find employment in these Middle Eastern countries, many non-Gulf Cooperation Council (non-GCC) countries struggle significant with their young, unemployed populations lacking the education and technical skills necessary for the limited number of private-sector jobs available. Residents’ desires for jobs underpinned the Arab Spring, forcing Middle Eastern countries to rethink their job creation efforts and focus on diversifying beyond the oil sector, while providing greater opportunities for youth employment, according to the survey.
On the other hand, most countries were pessimistic about last year’s job market, where 57 percent of adults worldwide said it was a bad time to find a job in their local communities, while 33 percent said it was a good time. Europeans were the most pessimistic, with 72 percent saying it was a bad time. Optimism was highest in the Americas, where a still dismal 38 percent said it was a good time.
Six of the 10 countries with the most negative outlooks were European Union (EU) countries, with Greeks and the Irish almost universally saying it was a bad time to find a job. These perceptions are likely to persist into 2012 as Europe continues to deleverage its debts, according to the survey. In addition, the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) scandal will likely affect economic stability and confidence in European financial markets, the survey said.