Good news! UAE firms are still hiring new staff
Professionals in demand are IT programmers, doctors, nurses and teachers as well as business development/sales professionals in retail businesses.
The labour market in the UAE still looks good despite a cautious approach in hiring new staff owing to a market slowdown induced by falling oil prices, says an expert.
Ahmad Khamis, founder and chief executive of Bloovo, said businesses in the UAE are focused on improving their operations and maintaining their market position. He said the regional economy has plateaued recently owing to the significant drop in oil prices. However, UAE employers continue to fill open jobs and backfill permanent positions.
"Even with the economy hitting a plateau and reduction in government spending, companies are optimistic about the region's growth prospects. The labour market in the UAE still looks good thanks to the country's diversified economy," Khamis told Khaleej Times during an interview.
Bloovo is an online social recruitment platform which started its operations in January this year. It aims at revolutionising companies' recruitment processes across the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) and has partnered with leading HR consultants to offer quality career coaching and counselling via video streaming.
"Companies in the UAE are now cautious about hiring new staff and could further streamline their payrolls to cope with the slowdown brought about by falling oil prices. However, that doesn't mean companies are no longer hiring. Certain industries are still looking to hire new employees. The health care industry has a decent job supply as positions in clinical and clinical support roles are likely to see a growth in the coming year," he said.
For active job seekers, he said there are opportunities in industries such as information technology, health care and education, among others. Professionals in demand are IT programmers, doctors, nurses and teachers as well as business development/sales professionals in retail businesses.
To a question, he said 2016 would be a challenging year for SMEs. The overall sentiment among small businesses remains cautiously optimistic. Going forward, it will become increasingly important for SMEs to be flexible and adapt to the changing market environment, he added.
Oil price impact
Khamis said the persistent decline in oil prices has affected the fiscal balances of countries in the GCC, creating a fiscal distortion. The price of oil has dropped by more than half since September 2014. However, the UAE is the most stable among all GCC countries because of its diversified economy and quick reaction by government authorities.
Referring to a study published in February 2016, he said only 15 per cent of companies in the UAE are planning layoffs this year, but the majority doesn't intend to reduce or expand their workforce.
"There are opportunities in the UAE. However, instead of existing in the traditionally strong sectors of oil and gas and financial services, they are more likely to be in other industries such as IT, health care, FMCG and retail," he said.
On which industries have witnessed a growth in recruitment, he said education services, hospitality, real estate, tourism, construction, trade and financial services have all contributed in a big way to the region's robust performance in the last few years. The non-oil sector (contributing to about 50 per cent of GCC's gross domestic product) has grown from about 3.3 per cent in 2010 to 5.7 per cent in 2014. Construction in Dubai witnessed a double-digit growth in the last three years up until the first half of 2015.
"Overall, the construction sector topped the list of employers, with 1.5 million workers accounting for about 34 per cent of total employment in the UAE," he said, adding that the business sector followed with about one million workers and 24 per cent of total employment. The industrial sector came third with about 0.5 million workers, accounting for 12 per cent of the total.
He said the health care sector was the fastest-growing sector, accounting for 25.4 per cent of the total increase in employment last year. "Real estate, leasing and business services came next with 18.6 per cent, followed by hotels, restaurants, transportation and storage sectors at 12.3 per cent," Khamis concluded.
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