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Hiring time again

Dhanusha Gokulan / 14 August 2012

Every year, thousands are in the UAE job market, searching for the perfect job. Some are students, while others have experience in different professions and are looking to move for better prospects. Many of them go back rejected after several months of job-hunting while several others make it big in their respective professions.

Take S. Eapen (name withheld at request) for example. He quit his job as a technical advisor in his hometown in India and has come to Dubai on visit visa searching for a good job. “I came to the UAE because I have a lot of liabilities back home and from what I hear, this is a good place to earn and save money,” said Eapen.

After the downturn, the UAE is sensing a healthy recovery vibe post the lay-off spree that took place during the 2008-2009 global economic depression. Financial institutions in the country faced a slump as expatriates left the country leaving behind massive credit card, automobile and personal loans.

Because giant corporates were on a lay-off spree that went into thousands, hiring was out of question. But now, young graduates and professionals are starting to slowly tip-toe their way back into the country with renewed hopes of making it big.

Khaleej Times probes into what has changed in the recruitment scenario for both recruiters and job-seekers in the country since the last couple of years.

Suhail Masri, vice-president of sales at recruitment website Bayt.com told Khaleej Times: “It is true that a lot of companies cut down their number of employees during the recession period to avoid a potential financial crisis within the organisation and many found that their company’s productivity was consequently highly affected. With 63 per cent of employers in the region planning to recruit throughout 2012 (as per Bayt.com’s Job Index Survey), it seems that most companies are back to hiring.”

Bayt.com’s top Industries Survey 2011 revealed that many of the industries that had downsized most in the region —such as construction and government/civil service and financial services— are almost the same industries that are currently hiring most: Construction (21 per cent), military/defence/police (21 per cent) and manufacturing (19 per cent).

Meanwhile, the Monster Employment Index, released in March 2012, showed that regional employers are extending a long-term escalation in online recruitment activity. “Sectors like banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), education and healthcare continue to drive growth in major economies like Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait with each of them recording double-digit annual growth in the index,” said Sanjay Modi, managing director, Monster.com (India/Middle East/South East Asia). The index is a monthly gauge of online job demand in the Middle-East based on a real-time review of tens of thousands of job opportunities culled from a large representative selection of career websites and online job listings.

The big change

Masri added: “Most employers used to focus on education and experience of a potential employee. Now HR professionals focus on skills one has and give more importance to on-the-job training.”  Another poll released by Bayt.com showed that most employers (67.2 per cent) will consider hiring a candidate who has relevant skills but no direct experience in the company’s field.

“In fact, Bayt.com’s Job Index Survey–January 2012, revealed that employers across the region look most for good communication skills in both English and Arabic (51 per cent).

The UAE has opened its doors to the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), which itself is an indicator of change in hiring practices. The SHRM is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management and has set up its offices in Knowledge Village.

Brad Boyson, executive director of the SHRM, UAE, said: “Currently in the UAE job market, employers are looking for higher level competency in people who are doing HR and it has a lot to do with why the SHRM has set up an office here. The biggest change is at the strategic level.”

“Especially after the financial crisis of 2008-09, most organisations around the world realised that it is very reactionary to terminate head count and it could work against you. Most people think of HR as a very administrative function, but it is a developing market in itself. The biggest indicator of that fact is the number of people who are taking SHRM’s professional certification. They offer the most comprehensive, rigorous and difficult HR examination in the world. If someone passes that exam, they have demonstrated a level of competence of being top in the market.” He added that the number of people who have been taking the SHRM certification has been growing exponentially.

Recent statistics has also revealed that 63 per cent of the UAE employers have plans to hire throughout 2012. As far as fresh graduates are concerned, industries that are most popular in the UAE are banking and finance (17 per cent), IT (11 per cent) and government/civil service (10 per cent).

 

Social media hiring the next big thing

DUBAI - With more and more employers turning to e-recruitment, and with the incredible surge of social networks in the past five years, integrating social media into the recruitment process has become inevitable.

“Social media has revolutionized the way jobs are shared now among job seekers. It has helped spread the word on jobs faster, and for free, to a wider audience,” said Moylin Yuan, community manager at Gradberry.com, a job website for fresh graduates. “Social media recruitment is cost effective, it speeds up the hiring process, as noted above, and every job posting on Gradberry receives applications within the first few days. It’s also great for getting in touch with the types of jobs graduates in the Middle East look for, what their demands are etc,” added Yuan.

Experts also suggest that social media is not limited to the young. “It’s open to anyone with an Internet connection and the willingness to learn,” she added.

 

Common errors in a CV

Poor research: A process of haphazard mailings and phone calls to companies you know very little about rarely yields positive results. Successful research is essential.

Poor CV: Poor focus, major omissions, spelling and grammar mistakes and lack of emphasis on pertinent skills are common mistakes that immediately eliminate your CV from the search process.

No cover letter: Your cover letter is your chance to really sell yourself and highlight exactly those skills and personal attributes you think the employer is looking for.

Careless follow-up: Sending a mass mailing of CVs and waiting for the companies to contact you is not an optimal job search strategy. The key is in the follow-up. Plan your follow-up strategy and execute it well.

What recruiters now look for?

Language skills (Both English and Arabic): 51 per cent

The ability to be a good team player (cooperative, helpful and flexible): 45 per cent

Give attention to one’s overall personality and demeanour: 43 per cent

Managerial experience: 31 per cent

Computer skills: 31 per cent

Sales and marketing experience: 26 per cent. (Source: Bayt Job Index Survey)

Recruitment glitches 

DUBAI - As a recruiter, do you sometimes wonder why the CVs that come to you are just not good enough? And as a job seeker, are you worried why no one is calling you back?

Vice-president of sales at Bayt.com Suhail Masri said: “One critical mistake a few employers make is that they neglect to tap into the online dimension via job websites. The vast majority of professionals now search for jobs online and post CVs and public profiles online on leading regional jobsites.”

Job seekers are also guilty of making grievous errors while sending their CV out. Experts say that lack of structure and discipline is one of the most common errors that job seekers make. Bayt.com’s poll on hiring practices in the MENA showed that according to 21.3 per cent of employers in the region, poor language on a CV is the biggest mistake that job seekers can make. The second biggest mistake, according to 19.7 per cent employers, is submitting a CV that is not customised for the role. Clear exaggerations (16.4 per cent) and poor format (14.8 per cent) also figure highly on the list, along with lack of focus and key omissions.

dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com

 
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