|25 February, 2020

UAE job market trends: Rising workload, talent shortage to spur new recruitments

Companies also struggle to keep pace with technology, says recruitment specialist

Image used for illustrative purpose. Middle Eastern flexible office workplace space

Image used for illustrative purpose. Middle Eastern flexible office workplace space


Companies in the UAE will continue to hire new employees this year despite challenging global economic trends, as they struggle to cope with increasing workloads and fill a talent gap, according to a new study.

Recruitment specialist Robert Half said many organisations in the UAE (21 percent) are going through increased workload and employee turnover (17 percent). About a third of them (29 percent) also require “suitable talent.”

The recruitment consultancy firm surveyed 275 hiring managers from companies in the UAE to enquire about their hiring intentions and measure their confidence levels. 

The recruitment specialist found that many organisations (29 percent) in the UAE are struggling to keep up with the rapid changes in technology, which are causing the skills gap to widen even further.

“Many [respondents] acknowledge that they need to bolster their ability to attract and retain the best available talent in the region,” said Gareth El Mettouri, associate director of Robert Half.

Impact of job cuts

Several UAE companies have been laying off employees to reduce business costs. Notable among them are the banks in the country, which has been slashing hundreds of jobs.

The Human Resources Management Association (HRMA) in Canada had earlier issued a research briefing on the negative effects of forced layoffs. It said that cutting jobs is often not good for the company because, among other reasons, it undermines productivity and increases operational costs.

It said that employees who have been left behind after a round of forced layoffs suffer increased stress, absenteeism and distrust, as workloads pile up and work quality drops.  

What are companies looking for?

According to El Mettouri UAE companies will focus on hiring professionals who can help with the data, digital transformation and modernisation strategies.

“To succeed in the digital world, organisations in the UAE increasingly require support in the areas of automation, artificial intelligence, data and IT services. This has provided an opportunity for businesses specialising in these areas to launch within the UAE to assist organisations as they seek to improve operations, speed and insight through digital transformation,” El Mettouri told Zawya.

Confidence level

Robert Half’s survey also found that the majority of the business leaders (69 percent) are still upbeat about their company’s growth prospects. 

“It’s great to see that UAE business leaders are starting the year with an optimistic outlook. Many of the businesses we are working with are exploring opportunities to expand their competitive advantage by implementing digitalisation to meet rising customer expectations.

According to the latest IHS Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) employment opportunities in the UAE fell at “one of the strongest rates on record” in January 2020, mainly due to cost-cutting strategies. 

In January this year, IHS said, companies saw total new orders falling for the second time in three months and struggled to gain sales amid a slow business environment.

(Reporting by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)



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© ZAWYA 2020

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