Coronavirus Pandemic

Good news: Hiring activity rising in the UAE

Waheed Abbas, Nandini Sircar/Dubai
Filed on October 3, 2020 | Last updated on October 3, 2020 at 06.28 am
uae jobs, dubai jobs, expats, covid

(KT file)

Several firms hiring talent already available in the local market.

Since it struck, Covid-19 has cut countless jobs and paychecks around the world. Recruitment experts in the UAE have said salaries dropped by up to 30 per cent - but there remains a silver lining for job hunters: As economic activities resume in the country and businesses start running at full capacity, hiring is now picking up.

Applicants are likely to see vacancies in procurement, sales, e-commerce, legal service, life sciences, healthcare and education, with several firms hiring talent already available in the local market, experts said.

Management and consultancy firms have observed an increase in recruitment activity in September. Though the hiring rate is still about 20 per cent lower compared with pre-Covid-19 period, more changes are expected in the coming months.

"We believe most of the companies have gone through workforce reduction processes, but we expect to see more changes in the banking sector, as we move from traditional banking towards the digital age. This results in a need for talent that is AI-driven to improve overall processes...and ease the impact of reduced branches," said Vijay Gandhi, regional director at Korn Ferry, an HR consulting firm based in Dubai.

Another expert said jobs in sales, business development, marketing and information technology are also emerging as businesses look for ways to recover losses.

Jaya Bhatia, CEO, and founder of,, venture of Expert Hub, said: "We have also noticed re-hiring at administrative, operations, and back-office jobs, as clients are re-engaging after successfully reopening. Majority of employers are also hiring mid-level executives, after firing people at senior levels, with the objective to save cost."

Gandhi added that firms are also looking at re-deploying staff to other departments by upskilling them.

Focus on local job hunters

Jon Ede, regional director for recruiting firm Michael Page Middle East, noted that most UAE businesses are hiring talent already based in the UAE to reduce risk, cost and save time.

"However, we are still seeing some demand for global or regional recruitment searches for certain niche specialisms. Positions particularly within digital, legal, financial services, healthcare and life sciences continue to have certain niche talent shortages and strategic growth plans," Ede said.

Over the past few months, a sharp spike in job applications has been observed, experts said. Previously non-working residents - like housewives, mothers, and other family-dependent members - are now looking for jobs to support their households. Aws Ismail, general manager of Marc Ellis, UAE, said: "We have seen a very large increase in applications for mid to low-income jobs over the past few months.

"For most businesses who have struggled during the pandemic, the first line of positions that were made redundant were operational roles such as administration, finance, secretarial jobs. Those who had been made redundant have been applying for similar jobs, considering their skill sets."

Another chunk of applications comes from industries like aviation, hospitality, and even construction, Ismail said. "Those who have been made redundant in these sectors have been left with no choice but to try and change their careers."


Negotiating salaries is an exchange of thoughts and not just a one-way discussion, said Mayank Patel of Adecco Middle East. Here are a couple of tips that can help you go about it.

Prove your mettle

Considering the current market condition, it's time for you to step up and be agile in contributing to your organisation.

Look beyond your fixed salary

Try to focus more on how you can get incentives more than the fixed pay.

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