UAE job prospects 2012

Top events that have shaped the country's job market

Past, they say, is not a definitive indicator of future performance, but it an indicator nevertheless.

With that in mind, Emirates 24|7 looks at the major events that shaped the UAE's employment market in 2011, and how that might impact your job prospects this year.

The UAE job market was in a much better shape in 2011 than the year before as the local economy improved and employer sentiment became stronger.

However, there were specific events that shaped the job market the most last year. Emirates 24|7 spoke with some experts in the recruitment industry to highlight the incidents and events that influenced the lives of the employees here in the UAE.

Talking of the external events, the Arab Spring, slowdown in the US and Eurozone seemed to be on top of the list.

“The Eurozone crisis, US employment issues, global economic downturn, dismal stock market performance - all external to the UAE - but this has resulted in international banks and investment banks based in the UAE being forced to reduce costs and lay-off staff in 2011,” Hasnain Qazi, Middle East Business Manager at Huxley Associates told Emirates 24|7.

Konstantina Sakellariou, Partner, Marketing & Operations Director at Stanton Chase believes there were several international events that had an impact on the local job market.

“The economic downturn of the US and Europe has definitely impacted the banking sector, which, at international level, is laying-off people. Obviously, this is affecting the specific sector in the UAE, though we are rather in the ‘slowdown’ period and not in the laying-off period. 

Besides that, “the catastrophe in Japan that slowed down the Japanese economy [is another event]. There are still several other global events that affected the UAE, mostly indirectly, and of course, any impact on the economy is also an impact on the human talent market. However, I believe the biggest concern of all (and the biggest impact on the regional economy) is the significant economic slowdown of the US and European economies. All the rest (with the exception of natural phenomena) are really an outcome of this increased tension and deadlock as to the next steps that the economies need to take,” she added.

The Arab Spring was one of the most important events that shaped the job market in 2011, according to experts.

“As a result of the Arab Spring, and with the geo-political issues in Egypt, Libya, Syria and Iran - a lot of businesses, individuals and capital has flowed into the UAE, seen as a safe, politically and economical stable country. This has benefited the UAE economy and has created new employment opportunities and has had a direct positive impact on job creation,” said Qazi.

According to Sakellariou, “The Arab spring affected the region in several ways. Many executives wished to move from the affected countries to the UAE, which increased the flow of candidates; many people transferred their property from the affected countries to the UAE, which allowed for an increased consumption here; many UAE companies that had presence in the affected countries had to face a temporary slowdown and period of uncertainty. However, as these events are still in progress, as well as their effects, we should not be keen to draw specific conclusions,” she added.

As far as internal events are concerned, happenings at big companies had an impact. “One [event that influenced the market] was the Emirates NBD merger with Dubai Bank. Perhaps the slowing down of big players like Mubadala and other Abu Dhabi government employers, which are now only hiring very selectively [impacted the market]. Finally, the 30 per cent plus pay hike for government workers in Abu Dhabi [will exert pressure on employers]. That raises the bar,” said Shane Phillips, MENA Regional Practice Leader, Financial & Professional Services at Stanton Chase.

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