UAE jobs: Firms find it hard to hire skilled employees due to 'unrealistic salary expectations'

New survey reveals top roles that companies find most difficult to fill, including data specialists, cyber security experts

File photo
File photo

Waheed Abbas

Published: Tue 25 Oct 2022, 6:43 AM

Last updated: Tue 25 Oct 2022, 9:05 PM

The UAE companies are finding it difficult to hire suitable candidates for vacant positions such as artificial intelligence and cybersecurity experts, data scientists and cloud engineers due to a shortage of skilled and qualified workers.

Human resources and recruitment consultants say that applicants claiming unrealistic salaries was also one of the biggest challenges that companies face when hiring skilled IT professionals. This is in addition to unnecessary delays in recruiting by firms, thus losing skilled candidates to their competitors.

According to the latest 2022 Hays GCC Salary Guide, 50 per cent of employers said their biggest challenge when recruiting staff was a shortage of suitable applicants, and another 21 per cent of employers claimed that it was applicants with unrealistic salary requirements. Nineteen per cent of firms expect to face skill shortages in IT and technology fields, particularly across cloud, cyber security, and data.

“There is definitely a shortage of skilled workers in the technology sector as many employers are struggling to find the right talent, particularly in industries like fintech. Being a tourist hub, the UAE, Dubai in particular, always faces a shortage of experienced tourism and senior hospitality professionals,” said Waleed Anwar, managing director of Upfront HR.

He said there is a shortage of skilled software developers, cybersecurity experts, and artificial intelligence specialists.

Billy Bilton, senior consultant for technology at Hays, said roles with niche and highly technical skill-sets such as data scientists, cybersecurity architects, cloud engineers, and cloud architects, are difficult to fill due to a shortage of skilled and qualified workers.


Unnecessary delay in hiring

Bilton added that one of the main challenges was organisations not positioning themselves correctly in the market, thus, losing candidates to more established brands.

“Additionally, we regularly see unnecessary delays in the recruitment process, from CV submittal to job offer. As a result, candidates often open themselves to other opportunities and seek employment elsewhere. Some firms are not up-to-date with market conditions, not flexible enough with their working model and not offering any work-from-home options,” he said.

Outsourcing, freelancing

Companies that are unable, according to Bilton, to fill roles with local talent are attracting expats by offering some work-from-aboard options.

“We’re noticing an increase in salaries for expats to relocate, compared to local salaries, to accommodate these skill-shortage conditions. Companies are also using outsourcing/freelancing options to fill their roles, rather than paying out permanent salaries. Contracting is a great option due to the speed of onboarding workers from all over the world with specialised skills.”

Waleed Anwar said employers are looking overseas to attract the right skilled talent to fill vacancies, also using specialist recruiters in the region makes finding the right talent easier because these recruiters would have the databases to support their search.

“The changing of the visa rules by the UAE government recently should make it easier to attract international talent to the UAE to fill some of the gaps,” he added.


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