|21 January, 2020

Looking for a job in the UAE? These sectors are hiring

Experts provide a rundown on sectors that are hiring and skills in demand

Image used for illustrative purpose. Business people at their desks in a busy, open plan office.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Business people at their desks in a busy, open plan office.


Last year, several companies in the UAE and the rest of the Middle East continued to struggle and resort to downsizing to stay afloat, but it doesn’t mean hiring activities have ceased completely.

In its latest report, recruitment specialist Michael Page said the Middle East employment landscape “has been active overall,” thanks to Saudi Arabia’s diversification efforts and Abu Dhabi’s consistent public investments.

The report, which is developed as a reference for hiring managers and jobseekers to make informed employment decisions, highlighted that sectors like retail, luxury and fast-moving consumer goods (FCMG) started to show signs of increased hiring activity in the UAE in 2019 after three years of slowdown.

“[That’s] probably in preparation for Expo 2020,” said Pierre-Emmanuel Dupil, senior managing director for Middle East and Africa at PageGroup.

Dupil noted that support functions like finance, procurement and supply chain were stable in terms of recruitment activity, but the openings were more oriented towards junior and mid-manager profiles.

Job generators

Information technology (IT) sector is also showing an appetite for more professionals, especially data and digital experts, as companies explore new revenue streams.

Within the legal services industry, there is also a demand for legal and consultancy experts, while property and construction firms require new staff. In 2019 alone, new vacancies opened up for professionals who could support projects aligned with the Saudi Vision 2030.

The job market has been going through a period of slowdown, with several organisations cutting down on operational costs amid a contraction in demand. However, the past several months had been quite positive on the labour front, with the total number of workers in the private sector increasing by 1.1 percent in the third quarter of 2019 compared to the previous quarter, according to a report by the UAE Central Bank.

New roles in demand

Gareth El Mettouri, associate director at Robert Half UAE, said businesses in 2020 are expected to adapt to several factors, including automation and artificial intelligence (AI) and geopolitical change, while they strive to improve operational performance and return on investments.

“With the World Expo 2020 on the horizon, the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors are seeing a boost in confidence as final preparations are underway, including additional operational spending and the job creation connected to it,” El Mettouri told Zawya.

Jobseekers, therefore, are likely to see certain roles in demand, such as digital transformation project managers, AI developers and cybersecurity analysts. Hiring managers are also likely to lean towards applicants who can bring soft skills and cultural fit to a role, as well as demonstrate good communication skills.

However, having the mentioned skills won’t automatically get a jobseeker hired. With the competition among candidates still very stiff, applicants are advised to look for ways to stand out.

According to Matt Jones, managing consultant for digital at Michael Page Middle East, people who are looking to change careers or land a new role should look for opportunities to upskill and show initiative for growth.

When they reach out to a recruiter, Jones said, applicants should also be very specific and targeted with their message. It is also important to be “marketable” and remain open-minded towards salary and title.

“Certifications can be a great resource, especially if moving between careers,” Jones told Zawya.

He said that certifications should also be supplemented with an attempt to use what has been learned in the current job. “[For example,] if you are in business planning or strategy, how can data influence your decisions? Can you use programming to automate any of your tasks?” Jones added.

(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)


Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. The content does not provide tax, legal or investment advice or opinion regarding the suitability, value or profitability of any particular security, portfolio or investment strategy. Read our full disclaimer policy here.

© ZAWYA 2020

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