Job growth in the UAE expanded at a fast clip in the first half of this year and industry stalwarts and analysts are optimistic that the trend will be maintained in the second half and 2019.
The rise in employment in key economic sectors indicates that the country's economic growth is not only on track but is now gaining the required momentum to affirm its position as the global hub of business and trade.
Krishnan Ramachandran, CEO of Barjeel Geojit, said: "The growth momentum, backed by higher oil prices and output, has picked up in the UAE. The economy is now well poised to reach a GDP growth of 3.5 to 4 per cent in the next few years. The business financial services industry sector will therefore play a pivotal role in this growth trajectory creating more employment prospects led by an organic expansion."
"The recent series of fiscal stimulus and concessions announced by the government with the primary focus on easing the cost of doing business is bound to create a positive impact on account of new investments coming into the country, thereby creating a demand for more skilled and professional manpower. Added to this is the large capital investments and infrastructure that is being created by Dubai for the Expo 2020 Dubai. This is very likely to give a fillip to growth and employment in the infrastructure and services sector."
According to the latest Monster Employment Index (MEI), the UAE registered a healthy 14 per cent growth in jobs in the first half of 2018, in line with recent government initiatives aiming to accelerate progress on National Agenda goals.
In 2017, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, pledged to accelerate the progress made on the objectives of the National Agenda. The government accelerator programme was designed to meet the ambitious goals of UAE Vision 2021, focusing on several industries and sectors including infrastructure, smart services and energy.
The Dubai Pulse initiative, announced late last year, will host a virtual platform that will allow residents to access country data and pay bills online. The initiative is the first step towards creating a smart and sustainable UAE and the country has pledged to process its last paper transaction by 2021. To date, 120 key initiatives have been implemented for 30 national pillars.
Abhijeet Mukherjee, chief executive officer of for Apac and Middle East at Monster.com, said: "The latest findings of our MEI is a reflection of the strong first half performance of the UAE market since the launch of key government initiatives. The National Agenda aims to diversify the country's economy and position the UAE as a preferred hub for global business and trade. As a result, we are seeing a demand for more skilled talent across sectors. This demand is for both expatriate and local talent in the private sector as companies embrace Emiratisation efforts and strive to keep up with the nation's progress rate."
Occupations within software, hardware and telecom registered an impressive surge of 14 per cent in the first half of 2018, signifying the growing nature of demand for jobs within the sector.
Ali Shabdar, evangelist at Zoho said: "Despite some global and regional uncertainties in 2018, the UAE job market remains strong and is growing in a number of sectors, especially in technology. Tech companies are actively hiring to serve the ever demanding market as more companies see technological innovations, digital transformation and data-based strategic decision-making as must haves to survive and thrive in the highly competitive marketplace of today. Other industries too look to hire in the technology and knowledge departments where they invest heavily in bleeding-edge technologies, such as AI, IoT and blockchain."
Zoho maintains that the UAE government initiatives to become the global leader of smart government is opening up many tech-related job opportunities while promoting and empowering the culture of innovation in the country and in the region.
"Dubai Vision 2021 and the prospect of the UAE becoming a formidable production and manufacturing power, as well as the upcoming Expo 2020 Dubai, have contributed to the confidence of the employers to scale up and hire a highly skilled workforce," Shabdar added.
Endorsing a similar positive sentiment, Mukherjee added, "It is not surprising to see that the telecom industry is spearheading the recent transformation of the UAE. Technology is an integral part of Vision 2021, and the smart initiatives launched by the UAE continue to fuel hiring in the sector. Initiatives like Dubai Future Foundation's 'One Million Arab Coders' programme, which helps Arab youth acquire the skills needed for jobs in the IT sector, will shape the future of the industry. It will be interesting to see how jobs in this sector will transform in the coming years."
Other industries contributing to the continued first half growth of the UAE market include consumer goods (including FMCG, food and packaging, home appliances, garments, textiles, leather, gems and jewellery), production and manufacturing, and business financial services, registering increases of 14, 12 and 9 per cent respectively.
From the industries evaluated by the MEI, the UAE's performance closely follows Bahrain at 16 per cent growth in the first half of 2018, while Egypt was the only other country to register growth during this period at six per cent. On the other hand, Qatar registered the highest decline at seven per cent from the same period last year.
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