Strong hiring confidence remains in the UAE, but VAT introduction results in greater salary demands: LinkedIn Survey

84% of UAE recruiters and HR professionals feel extremely or very confident about their ability to hire the right talent

  • 57% of hiring managers have seen an increase in hiring from April to December 2018
  • 46% of recruiters and HR professionals anticipate fewer entry- to mid-level jobs due to AI impact, but 51% agree that AI will grow employment opportunities in the UAE region

Dubai: The majority (84 percent) of recruiters and human resource (HR) professionals remain confident about their ability to recruit the right candidates for businesses, yet more than half (56 percent) have experienced candidates demanding above average salaries since the roll out of value-added taxes (VAT), according to a Recruiter Sentiment Survey by LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network.

Impact of VAT on Hiring

The implementation of VAT in the UAE at the start of 2018 does not seem to have affected hiring rates, with most respondents (57 percent) seeing an increase in hiring from April to December 2018, when compared to the same period in 2017. However, according to more than half of recruiters (56 percent) candidates demand above average salaries in the post-VAT environment.

The top reasons for the increase in hiring from April to December 2018 were attributed to business growth (63 percent), availability of more suitable candidates (52 percent) and access to relevant talent insights (51 percent). However, over half (55 percent) of respondents stated that there was a greater supply of candidates than available roles.

“It is interesting to see that despite the introduction of VAT, the UAE job market and workforce appears to remain confident, according to the latest findings of the LinkedIn Recruitment Survey. However, the new tax does appear to be putting added pressure on businesses as candidates demand higher salaries to compensate for the increase,” said Ghassan Talhouk, Head of LinkedIn – UAE LinkedIn Talent Solutions.

The survey revealed that the most in-demand roles since the implementation of the VAT regime were tax and finance executives and IT specialists, as companies geared up for VAT -compliance.

According to the survey findings, transport, public administration and design sectors are among the hardest to find candidates for, while the hiring rates in IT, food and beverage and hospitality industries have peaked since the start of 2018.  

Hiring considerations

The survey findings also revealed which industries were the easiest and most difficult to find candidates for. Since the start of 2018, hiring rates for the IT, food and beverage and hospitality industries have peaked, according to respondents, while the transport, public administration and design sectors were among the hardest to hire for.

In addition, two-thirds (68 percent) of respondents think that sourcing and hiring candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds is a big or major priority, amid increased awareness of the benefits of workplace diversity and inclusion.

How AI will affect Jobs

Survey respondents expect that AI will have a significant impact on the future of work in the UAE. The survey revealed that 68 percent of recruiters and HR professionals believe that AI will particularly affect jobs in finance, healthcare and transport/storage industries.

At the same time, half of recruiters and HR professionals (51 percent) agree that AI will also grow employment opportunities in the UAE and the wider region, yet lower availability

of entry- to mid-level jobs are anticipated by 46 percent of respondents due to increased automation of work processes.

Against the backdrop of a changing workforce, two-thirds of respondents consider people analytics tools to be ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ important for recruiters to do their jobs competitively in today’s workplace.

Talhouk added: “The need for the most qualified candidates is greater than ever before, so naturally, HR professionals are turning to workforce analytics tools to make smarter, data-driven business decisions. With real-time insights collected from more than 590 million LinkedIn members and 30 million companies, LinkedIn Talent Insights offers a whole new level of transparency to the talent marketplace and helps HR professionals plan for current and future hiring needs.”


About LinkedIn
LinkedIn connects the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful and transforms the ways companies hire, market and sell. Our vision is to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce through the ongoing development of the world’s first Economic Graph. LinkedIn has more than 610 million members in over 200 countries and territories and has offices around the world.

What is Recruiter Sentiment survey?

The Recruiter Sentiment research is a third-party survey that looks in detail at what decision makers at in-house HR departments and recruitment agencies are seeing each quarter. It shows what the talent industry is seeing in the marketplace focusing on hiring levels, confidence, in-demand sectors and topical factors impacting hiring. It allows us to get regular insight into what’s happening across the industry.

Recruiter Sentiment Methodology

The Recruiter Sentiment survey is based on the responses of 300 in-house HR professionals and agency recruiters in the UAE. Respondents are from across three regions (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah) and 12 sectors (aviation, automotive, R&D, staffing agencies, retail, marketing & communications, finance, hospitality, software & IT, manufacturing, hospital & healthcare and banking & finance). The survey is to outline the hiring trends and recruiters’ confidence in their ability to fill available roles in the UAE.

Research was commissioned by LinkedIn and carried out by Coleman Parkes. Respondents were surveyed in November 2018.

For more information, please contact:
sharon Alvares
APCO Worldwide
+971 52 863 1778
Razan Katbe
APCO Worldwide 
+971 52 660 2925 
Aza Wee Sile
APCO Worldwide
+971 55 924 7159

© Press Release 2019

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