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Upbeat UAE firms set to ramp up hiring

Issac John /Dubai
issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com Filed on October 5, 2021
The research, based on a survey of more than 2,000 leading businesses worldwide, shows that three out of four companies in the UAE expect to hire more staff in the coming 12 months. — File photo

The vibrant bounce back in business activities from lows hit in the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic underpins this optimism and confidence, a new research from HSBC shows

Businesses in the UAE across most sectors are geared up for ramping up hiring and their investment in staff as they are upbeat about a 50 per cent jump in revenue growth in the next 12 months.

The vibrant bounce back in business activities from lows hit in the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic underpins this optimism and confidence, a new research from HSBC shows.

The research, based on a survey of more than 2,000 leading businesses worldwide, shows that three out of four companies in the UAE expect to hire more staff in the coming 12 months and that they rank the anticipated ‘battle for talent’ as crucial to delivering on ambitious growth plans.

Key findings of the survey show that businesses in the UAE are most confident globally about driving innovation in product and customer service while 97 per cent of business leaders see remote working as critical to an optimal working arrangement, HSBC said.

“The companies involved in our research in the UAE are targeting roughly 25 per cent revenue growth on average over the next 12 months and eight in 10 of them are already making significant investments in hiring, upskilling, or training,” said Daniel Howlett, regional head of Commercial Banking for HSBC in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey.

He said the new HSBC Navigator report on the Future of Work shows clearly that executives believe the battle for talent is vital to driving sustainable profitability, particularly as companies bounce back from the pandemic. Almost 90 per cent of companies surveyed in the UAE see a strong relationship between investment in the workforce and business success, said Howlett.

“The business community in the UAE is one of the most dynamic in the world, always quick to adapt to changing business environments, which makes this prioritisation of employee well-being, training, skills development and flexible working a clear indication of the global trend,” Howlett said.

He said the future working environment is still taking shape and it is already clear to executives that the changes to come are likely to have a profound impact on both the engagement of staff and the profitability of the companies that people choose to work in.

“Almost all business leaders (97 per cent) surveyed for the research in the UAE agree that optimal working arrangements in future would include a form of remote working, closely in line with the views of their global counterparts (95 per cent). More than half are supporting employees with digital skills training (52 per cent), while 44 per cent are providing work life balance programmes to prepare staff for the future of hybrid working,” HSBC said in its survey report.

While salary remains a key factor for attracting and retaining talent in the UAE, with 47 per cent of business leaders citing it as such, executives are increasingly focused on the views of staff that see hybrid working arrangements boosting growth and organisational culture.

According to the report, the top four areas that UAE businesses are upskilling their workforce in to respond to emerging macroeconomic trends are managing and supporting staff wellbeing (47 per cent), management and leadership in hybrid environment (41 per cent), cyber security (40 per cent) and environmental, social and governance frameworks (ESG) (38 per cent).

While 74 per cent of businesses in the UAE are optimistic about achieving their priority of improving customer experience — third highest globally after Mexico (77 per cent) and China (77 per cent) — they are the most confident globally about driving innovation in product and customer service (67 per cent) over the next 12 months.

“It’s great to see that product and service innovation is front-of-mind for UAE’s business community, which is particularly relevant when bearing in mind that Expo 2020 – the global showcase of innovation and ideas that shape the world in which we live – has just begun here in the UAE. Innovations that create opportunities, drive mobility and nourish sustainability are key themes at Expo 2020 and they align well with what UAE businesses say will enhance their competitive advantage regionally and globally,” said Howlett.

Businesses also expect hybrid working to make it easier to manage cost challenges (77 per cent), improve staff productivity (76 per cent) and enhance profitability (76 per cent).

— issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com

author

Issac John

Editorial Director of Khaleej Times, is a well-connected Indian journalist and an economic and financial commentator. He has been in the UAE's mainstream journalism for 35 years, including 23 years with Khaleej Times. A post-graduate in English and graduate in economics, he has won over two dozen awards. Acclaimed for his authentic and insightful analysis of global and regional businesses and economic trends, he is respected for his astute understanding of the local business scene.





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