Millions of people worldwide have been either out of work or are unpaid, as companies grapple with the financial impact of the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
As of the first week of April, some 2.7 billion workers, representing around 81 percent of the world’s workforce, were affected by full or partial lockdown measures, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
Within the UAE, it’s far too common to hear stories from employees and businesses about salary and job cuts as well as unpaid leaves.
However, despite the mounting job losses, opportunities still exist for those who are on the lookout for new roles.
According to online job postings and recruitment specialists, some companies in the UAE are scouting for new talent to fill a range of roles, from sanitation jobs in the healthcare industry, to technicians in the engineering field, to IT positions in various sectors.
According to Gareth El Mettouri, Associate Director of Robert Half UAE, the demand for professionals with qualifications in information technology in particular remains strong, as businesses are having to either rapidly evolve their digital transformation to adopt an e-commerce strategy or to support their employees in working from home.
“We are also seeing a constant demand for positions of financial director and chief financial officer,” Mettouri told Zawya.
Healthcare, government utility companies, including power, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and food-based businesses, also continue to hire at this time to match the demand for their service and customer offering.
“We have placed a number of candidates with companies in their areas, with all of these professionals starting their roles while working from home,” Mettouri added.
Since the start of the pandemic, employment levels have contracted as companies across a range of industries took a beating from the economic impact of the virus. The ILO estimated that the widespread coronavirus disruptions could wipe out 195 million full-time jobs.
“Businesses across a range of economic sectors are facing catastrophic losses, which threaten their operations and solvency, especially among smaller enterprises, while millions of workers are vulnerable to income loss and layoffs,” said the ILO in a report published in the first week of April.
In the UAE, companies such as Emirates, Etihad and flydubai have cut salaries by 25 percent to 50 percent.
“We are not laying off staff at the moment, but we have cut staff wages by 10 percent. However, this is a developing situation, we will see what will happen over the coming weeks,” said one manager for a Dubai-based company.
“We are seeing a number of employers in the UAE adopt salary cuts or asking employees to take their annual leave as a way of ensuring professionals can remain work through these unprecedented times,” added Mettouri.
The UAE government decided last week to ease lockdown restrictions around the country on the occasion of Ramadan, allowing malls, restaurants, cafes and other businesses to reopen their doors after several weeks of closure.
The shops - with the exception of essential outlets like groceries, supermarkets and pharmacies that have the option to stay open for 24 hours - were allowed to operate for ten hours daily from 12 noon on Friday.
(Reporting by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)
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