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03 March 2024

These vacancies don’t even get advertised: UAE's hidden jobs

By Shuchita Kapur

Candidates mainly apply to jobs that are advertised publically but miss on the many chances of employment because they are not aware that such vacant roles exist and are quickly filled up by those in the loop.

These jobs create what is known as the ‘hidden job market’ and many employers deliberately withhold advertising vacancies to the public as these slots are circulated internally or matched with the CVs of the candidates already in their database, minimising the chances of employment for others.

Internal hiring, picking up people from the existing pool of candidates and employee referrals create and contribute to this hidden job market. Many times, HR professionals believe their own company might not be a bad place to start looking for candidates and hire employees internally before listing the vacancies to the wider public.

In fact, some estimates show 80 per cent of hires come from this space as a big chunk of vacant roles never get formally advertised.

A recent report by Cazar, an organisation that helps companies achieve their recruitment objectives, reveals that candidates who rely just on online job portals or classifieds jobs sections are not doing justice to their job search and they need to look at this hidden job market.

The company has an impressive list of clients such as Al Futtaim, DP World, Adnoc Distribution, Al Tayer, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Jumeirah Group and many others.

The survey by Cazar shows that an increasing number of companies look at their own talent pools of previous applications. Not only did this source produce 22 per cent of hires, but they were also the most effective sourcing channel by far with one in every 12 people presented to hiring managers being recruited. This also resulted in very fast time-to-hire at no additional cost.

Intranet applications from existing employees also produced 8 per cent of all the hires in the study – adding to the jobs that are available in the so-called hidden market.

Employee referrals and traditional professional networking proved to be highly effective sources and resulted in 9 and 5 per cent of hires, respectively.

Another survey by job website FindEmployment also reveals that internal hiring and the existing database of candidates see many job roles being filled.

Their findings suggest that the often thought reliable hiring sources may not be high on the list of recruitment channels for employers.

And savvy jobseekers are increasingly utilising the hidden job market.

The FindEmployment survey shows that 79 per cent of candidates are aware that career opportunities exist within companies who would consider recruiting internally or creating a role for a unique candidate who approaches them and thus these jobseekers believe tapping this area is very important to land a job.

The smart ones don’t wait for the job to land in their lap as the best ones never get advertised – you have to be proactive to unlock the potential of the hidden job market and it’s not very difficult to do it.

Firstly, contact potential employers whether they have openings or not. Talk to them and send them your CV for future reference.

Second, if you like your company but not your current job, then snoop around. There may be others options in another department or unit and if you find one don’t hesitate to move on.

Get employee referrals. This is a growing source of new hires and many firms are now setting ambitious internal goals to increase the proportion of hiring that come from internal or current employee referrals. Your CV may have been looked at but a referral in the company may put it in the express lane, as experts say.

Lastly, network. This will help you be in the know-how of where the openings are. So whether it’s your alumni networking, LinkedIn and the larger social media and professional clubs always stay connected as there may be a job coming your way.