Has UAE become an 'employer's market'? New study says businesses call the shots for jobseekers

As more people come to country looking for jobs, companies are getting more opportunities to choose from the available talent

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Waheed Abbas

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Robert Half said the market is shifting and the primary motivation for candidates is now stability or progression opportunities, rather than increased salaries. — File photo
Robert Half said the market is shifting and the primary motivation for candidates is now stability or progression opportunities, rather than increased salaries. — File photo

Published: Wed 8 Nov 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Wed 8 Nov 2023, 10:55 PM

The UAE has become an employers’ market, with more people moving to the UAE, giving companies more opportunities to choose from the available talent in the market, said a new study released on Wednesday.

According to Robert Half’s 2024 Salary Guide, the UAE job sector has shifted “to an employers’ market, with more people moving to the UAE due to the luxury lifestyle and conditions in other countries.”

As per Dubai Statistics Centre’s data, Dubai’s population has grown by more than 84,400 since January 2023. Dubai’s General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs has said that the emirate saw a 63 per cent increase in the number of residency visas during the January-June 2023 period, reflecting that more and more companies are foraying into the country to cash in on growing opportunities while professionals are also flocking in search of greener pastures.

Gareth El Mettouri, associate director for Middle East at Robert Half, said the UAE has become the ultimate lifestyle move and demand from expats has never been higher. “With an influx of talent flooding the region and more competition for roles, candidates are willing to accept lower packages to give themselves a foothold in the Middle East, which brings down the overall market rate and restricts salary growth at a time of high inflation and rising costs,” he said.

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El Mettouri added that the government’s efforts to create a welcoming environment for businesses are paying off. “Many companies are setting up or establishing new offices in the region, driving demand for talent across sectors. However, global and regional instability is seeing many companies put their hiring plans on pause until next year in the hope of gaining clarity on what the future holds for the global economy,” he added.

While sharing its outlook for 2024, Robert Half said the market is shifting and the primary motivation for candidates is now stability or progression opportunities, rather than increased salaries. “Companies are still making new hires, but they are more risk-averse given the changeable economic situation across the Atlantic.”

“Candidates are relocating without jobs, so they have to accept a job quickly in order to secure a visa, putting businesses in a position of power,” it said.

According to the 2024 Salary Guide, employees who have been in their roles for 3 to 5 years are the most likely to be dissatisfied, making them more likely to leave their roles. While those aged between 25 and 34 are among the most likely to leave their roles before the end of the year. Nearly 27 per cent of those aged under 24 are looking to leave their current jobs within the first three months of 2024.

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