'War for talent' among UAE employers to reignite: Experts

But jobseekers may have to wait for two years to gain the upper hand

J Bradley, a senior in an international firms recalls about the number of jobs offers he received in the first few months of 2008.

“I could negotiate a lot then. With a job offer in hand, my employer hiked my salary 15 per cent in one go,” he says reminiscing.

Employees in most sectors in Dubai could relate a similar story during the heydays of the so-called ‘war for talent’ era. Today it’s the employers market and will continue to do so for some more time to come. However, a salary hike between 3 to 5 per cent seems good but Bradley's 15 per cent jump is not on the cards for the majority.

It’s difficult to predict if and when talent shortage will be a big concern for employers but the balance of power will slowly move in the favour of the employees in two years time, believe those in the recruitment industry.

According to experts, 2014 should be when candidates will be more comfortable in the job market.

“For several professions and nationalities right now it is a candidate-driven market, but in general I don’t believe we will see the balance of power shifting to candidates any time until mid-2014.

Globally, we see persistent high unemployment in an increasingly mobile workforce, so even if the UAE economic growth hits double digits the slack in the candidate market will be picked up by overseas talent,” Toby Simpson, Managing Director at The Gulf Recruitment Group told Emirates 24|7.

Agrees Hasnain Qazi, Middle East Business Manager at Huxley Associates. The number of people looking to relocate to Dubai for employment outweighs the demand , which favours the employers. “It's a simple question of demand and supply. At present, with the number of people looking to move to Dubai for lifestyle and economic reasons, supply seems to be outstripping demand in most sectors. That said, there are certain sectors where this is the other way around,” he said.

As a precursor to the 2014 prediction, most employers seem to be in a hiring mode in the city. “According to [our] September 2012 Job Index survey, 53 per cent of UAE employers will ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’

hire in the next three months. Meanwhile, hiring expectancy for the upcoming 12 months in the UAE shows that 29 per cent of employers are going to ‘definitely’ hire, while 37 per cent employers say they are ‘probably’ going to be hire,” said Lama Ataya, CMO at Bayt.com.

 

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