UAE jobs: 8 in 10 UAE companies to increase headcount in the next two years

64% of UAE organisations set to embrace robotics and automation for hiring surge, study shows


Somshankar Bandyopadhyay

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Published: Wed 25 Oct 2023, 4:49 PM

Last updated: Wed 25 Oct 2023, 4:50 PM

C-level executives (CXOs) in the UAE are confident about their organisations’ increasing headcount over the next couple of years and are also overwhelmingly optimistic about revenue and profit, a research report showed.

Darwinbox’s “HR Evolution Perspectives 2023” report found that 80 per cent of UAE CXOs believe their organisation will increase headcount in the next two years. The study indicates that along with the focus on increased productivity, CXOs are also looking to hire for critical capabilities and emerging skills. Additionally, 89 per cent of UAE CXOs expect profitability to rise, with 89 per cent anticipating revenue growth. Almost three-quarters (72 per cent) expect this growth through M&A, while 82 per cent anticipate growth through organic expansion. As sustainability kicks into top gear, financing of green initiatives is rising, with 67 per cent of CXOs expecting a rise in ESG investments.

The UAE’s economy is set to expand by three per cent this year and four per cent in 2024, primarily propelled by the strong performance of the non-oil sector, according to a recent industry report. Economic analysts believe that the increasing influx of tourists, government initiatives, and technological advancements are poised to play pivotal roles in driving the country’s economic growth. This increased growth will require a stronger talent pool and more robust digital solutions to support the HR function in UAE enterprises.

Chaitanya Peddi, co-founder of Darwinbox, said: “Undeniably, the CXOs in the UAE have an extremely positive economic outlook, and this will convert into more hiring in the coming 12-24 months. Hence, there will be more emphasis on strengthening the HR functions. HR teams must navigate a period of heightened employee expectations, a rapidly shifting digital landscape, and stakeholder pressure toward inclusive workplaces. The report makes no attempt to downplay these challenges; instead, it calls upon HR professionals to seize the opportunity to transform their organisations, powered by the transformative role of technology.”

Darwinbox’s study provides an in-depth analysis of what companies and employees expect from HR today and how equipped HR departments are to handle it. The survey was carried out in collaboration with People Matters, the study gathered responses from over 1,200 HR practitioners and around 1,500 employees in Southeast Asia, India, and the Middle East. Online surveys took place between February and May of this year.

Despite the opportunities, UAE businesses are challenged by a rapidly shifting digital landscape, remote and hybrid work models, and renewed demands for more inclusive and sustainable work practices.

UAE CXOs identified the inability to align culture and low employee productivity as a significant risk, with 38 per cent saying their organisation could not attune its corporate culture to changing business environments. With the full force of digital transformation sweeping through the business world, 69 per cent of CXOs in the UAE now recognise the imperative of adapting to new digital work paradigms. Alarmingly, 31 per cent of them feel unprepared to effectively address this challenge, revealing a significant vulnerability. A further 31 per cent said they cannot redefine work by effectively leveraging digital and connected teams.

Chaitanya Peddi, co-founder of Darwinbox
Chaitanya Peddi, co-founder of Darwinbox

In response, organisations are ramping up investments in technology to improve HR’s effectiveness. In the next 12 to 24 months, 64 per cent of UAE organisations plan to adopt robotics and automation for HR. Additionally, 64 per cent plan to invest in digitising their HR Systems, while 53 per cent plan end-to-end process redesign. As a seasoned expert who has successfully navigated the digital adoption roadmap with numerous enterprises in the region, Darwinbox is already solving for this digital adoption and finds a strong appetite for transformation in the Middle Eastern market.

Peddi added: “Worldwide, and particularly in the UAE, organisations are increasingly prioritising the digital HR agenda to enhance productivity, agility, and overall employee experience. We firmly believe that while identifying and implementing technology to drive efficiencies is the initial phase, the true return on investment emerges when organisations continually embrace technology and use it to adapt to evolving circumstances. Therefore, we collaborate closely with our customer base, attentively listening to their needs and delivering innovative solutions that empower them to stay ahead of the curve.”

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