With just 10 days into the New Year, optimism is high in the UAE job market. A new survey reveals that majority of the employers in the country are in ‘a hiring mode’ and it’s about time that employees brush up their CVs, start applying for jobs as they may well get an interview call in the coming few months.
According to Robert Half international, an executive research firm, more than eight in 10 UAE companies will be recruiting in this quarter and the first half of this year, setting a good trend for 2013.
The findings of the survey (based on responses of 75 CFOs/FDs) show that the first quarter hiring prospects will find 31 per cent of finance leaders expanding their departments and 52 per cent maintaining levels by filling roles that have been vacated. Only 12 per cent of companies will be undergoing a hiring freeze in the first quarter and 5 per cent will reduce headcount levels.
Dubai based financial leaders plan the most hiring activity in the first quarter with nearly four in 10 (37 per cent) anticipating expanding their finance teams and 48 per cent backfilling roles for vacated employees. Abu Dhabi chiefs also remain optimistic, with 21 per cent expanding and 59 per cent maintaining headcount levels before the end of March, added the Robert Half survey.
Recently, this website reported that the UAE job market is expected to follow an upward trajectory as an increasing number of large-scale projects are being announced by the UAE’s government as well as the private sector. [Read - UAE jobs forecast 2013: More hiring than firing, tag]
Sectors that are expected to generate jobs include both the traditional pillars of the economy – oil, gas and petrochemicals – as well as the previously battered ones, such as banking, construction and real estate, with the latter having a spill-over effect on industries like logistics.
As confidence returns to the market and the economy improves, we are also witnessing growth in fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and retail sectors, say jobs specialists.
With an increasing demand for employees (manpower), the country is also expected to see pay hikes with the most recent projection being an above inflation 5 per cent increment for the majority in the country.
As per the latest total remuneration survey conducted by Mercer, general salary increase expectations in the GCC region range from 5 to 6 per cent with employees in the UAE to get a 5 per cent hike. [Read Above inflation pay hike @ 5% for UAE employees in 2013, tag]
“Anticipated pay increases are affected by consumer price inflation, the anticipated pay increase in 2013 are predicted to be above the forecasted inflation generating real pay growth for employees,” said Zaid Kamhawi, Middle East Business Leader for Information Product Solutions at Mercer.
Even though job opportunities may open up, companies are still finding it difficult to find the right talent.
The Robert Half survey puts this one obstacle high on the list of recruiters. Nearly nine in 10 (87 per cent) executives say they find it challenging to find skilled financial professionals with financial/management accounting topping the list of the functions most difficult to recruit. Not surprisingly, nine in 10 (89 per cent) executives are concerned about losing top performers, prompting many to issue counteroffers and/or increased salaries and bonuses, the survey states.
“With demand outweighing supply, many organisations find it challenging to attract and recruit the requisite talent and are turning to recruitment consultancies and expatriate recruitment to help fill the gap,” said James Sayer, director, Robert Half UAE while commenting on the finance industry.
This is reminiscent of the boom days when talent was hard to come by. A recent report by Mercer sated that companies in Dubai are coming up with lucrative packages to attract and retain talent. [Read War for talent is back: Employee benefits soar in the UAE, tag].
Confidence levels amongst UAE executives continue to be strong with eight in 10 (81 per cent) confident about the country’s growth prospects in the coming six months and 92 per cent confident in their own company’s prospects. The latter is up 12 points over H2 2012 levels and three points higher than the Index one year ago, indicating that companies are confident in their potential for growth in the coming months, the survey revealed.