UAE employers eye part-timers in squeezed economy
Mums@Work is a venture that has spotted a gap in the UAE market for short term employment opportunities for women returning to work or accompanying expat spouses. (File photo)
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Companies in the United Arab Emirates are eyeing part time and short-term workers to meet their immediate staffing needs during the current economic climate, according to one of the country’s leading recruiters.
So far this year, UAE companies a have made thousands of redundancies, introduced pay freezes and cut worker benefits as low oil prices and global uncertainty hit the local economy.
Mums@Work, a new venture launched by regional recruiters Mackenzie Jones in April, is aiming to fill a perceived gap for part time staff in the emirate by helping women to return to work after having children.
“I started to speak to some of the Mackenzie Jones clients and said ‘would you look at flexible working?’ said Mums@Work founder and Mackenzie Jones managing director David Mackenzie.
“A lot of them came back and said ‘the way the job market is going at the moment we need people like that to perform short term roles or for small businesses starting up that can’t afford headcount’.”
The unit – backed by YouGov research that found 77 per cent of mothers in the country would like to return to work after having a baby – received 2,500 CVs in the week of its launch. Around 80 per cent of these are expected to be placed, according to Mackenzie, with more than 30 positions filled by early May.
It aims to place female applicants in the legal, professional services and FMCG sectors.
“There are some companies that are retrenching people, others are growing and they all need talent,” said Mackenzie.
“For example, there is a company here that needs somebody for a project management role but it’s only three days a week because they can’t afford to have somebody for five days. They know we’ve got a flexible workforce and they’ve hired somebody. The cost is a lot lower because they don’t have to get a full visa, just a labour card.”
The company requires applicants to be on a family visa via their spouse, due to a lack of part time work legislation in the country. But Mackenzie told Gulf Business the unit was in talks with free zone operator Dubai Multi Commodities Centre for the introduction of part time or flexible visa options.
“There is a real appetite for this flexibility but we just need to get proper legislation through,” he said.
“The federal government is quite keen to do this it’s just going to be a matter of time.”
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