Recruitment experts say expatriate employment in UAE has yet to bounce back after more than three years of weak oil prices that have only recently started to recover — leaving a job market flooded with jobseekers and jobless candidates scrabbling for new positions.
Chris Greaves, managing director for Hays in the Gulf region, said the jobs market is “certainly less buoyant” than five years ago.
‘The weak energy prices of the past two to three years have not gone unnoticed and employers do still remain cautious with regards to their budget spends on hiring,” he said.
“As a result, we do not expect the number of available jobs to be as high as in 2015 as employers are likely to invest in additional headcount only when there is an absolutely necessity to do so. Compared to the last two years, we expect hiring activity to pick up, but at the same time, remain more subdued than it was pre-2016.”
The oil and gas sector, in particular, remains challenging, with relatively few roles available in comparison to previous years, said Greaves.
“Securing a job in the UAE has never been easy,” he added. “The market is flooded with candidates – whether that be as a result of redundancy, relocation or other reason.
“As such, employers can be very selective as to who they recruit, hiring those with the capabilities that stand out from the crowd and who they can be confident will add value to their organization.
“The most in-demand candidates are those who, in addition to a strong educational background, have proven experience within their respective industry, as well as past experience in both the UAE and broader international markets.”
Still, there is room for optimism. Findings from the Hays 2018 GCC Salary & Employment Report showed more employers were hiring in 2018 than 2017 with 71 percent of organizations planning to hire extra staff in the next 12 months and 66 percent expecting market activity to increase year-on-year.
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