UAE employers 'failing in bid to recruit top talent'

Few companies target people changing career, returning to workforce or moving from overseas, study finds

Image for illustrative purpose only.

Image for illustrative purpose only.

UAE employers are failing to target valuable sources of talent despite complaining of a skills shortage, according to a specialist recruiter.

A survey by Robert Walters found that almost three-quarters (72 percent) of employers surveyed admitted they had been affected by talent shortages but have no formal plan in place to address this.

And just four in ten employers have a strategy in place to attract workers who are not actively seeking a new job, despite more than 90 percent of professionals saying they are open to being contacted with potential offers of employment.

Robert Walters surveyed more than 600 professionals and hiring managers from a range of sectors across the UAE and concluded that employers are neglecting important sources of talent such as people returning to the workforce after a break, overseas talent, and professionals changing careers.

The survey showed that 89 percent of UAE professionals would consider changing careers for the right opportunity, but a third of companies have no strategy in place for targeting this group.

Meanwhile, 90 percent of professionals surveyed said they would be open to a new job offer but are not actively looking, yet two-thirds of employers said they have no plan in place for targeting them.

And 13 percent of employers said they had no strategy in place to attract 34 percent of professionals surveyed who have taken a career break and are looking to return, or have returned, to the workforce.

The findings also show that 40 percent of employers would be unlikely to hire candidates who did not meet their “exact” recruitment criteria.

Jason Grundy, country head at Robert Walters Middle East, said employers cannot afford to neglect sources of talent in an increasingly competitive skills market.

“Professionals from other disciplines, international workers and those returning to the workforce following a career break are all potential sources of skilled candidates for employers prepared to be flexible in their hiring criteria and adapt their recruitment strategy to reach these people,” he said.

“Employers that are proactive in exploring new talent pools will be best positioned to hire the markets most in demand candidates in 2016.”

Grundy added: “Employers looking for long term solutions to candidate shortages should consider the core skills essential to a role, rather than necessarily focusing on finding a candidate with specific industry experience.”

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Posted by: Skeptic

Here's an article for whomever still believes that Dubai has any sort of professionalism left in corporate workplaces:

Yes, 64% of job applicants lie on their CV's (vs. 10% GLOBALLY, including third world markets). What does that say about the type of work culture that is prevalent in Dubai, and correspondingly about the types of candidates that will be attracted to such an environment. The best and brightest obviously won't want to work where the majority of their colleagues have lied about their credentials.

Posted by: WHJ

@Telco. I recommend you look at the list. When countries like Malta, Ecuador, Mexico, Costa Rico and the Czech Republic rank in the top 10, and when a country like the UK ranks 33, not so high above UAE, you can't help but wonder what the respondents were thinking.
But you're right, what do you know!

Posted by: WHJ

@ Telco. You missed a small but important detail. The survey you're referring to with your quote covers countries, not cities. If it covered cities, Dubai would be among the top

Posted by: Trish

I only come here to read the comments and the war of words.

Posted by: Fentoni

Music to WHJ's ears I'm sure!

Posted by: Skeptic

To all those defending Dubai's professionalism, here is a simple question: How many large companies in North America and Europe try to headhunt people from Dubai? I've never come across a situation where someone has said "let's go and look for a candidate in Dubai becuase they have the most relevant experience for what we need". Rather, it's always the other way around where companies in Dubai are trying to poach talent from overseas. And then, once they succeed (if they are able to offer insane amounts of money), that candidate's career trajectory stalls.

Posted by: WHJ

@Skeptic. If you can't find the "most professional and experienced folk" in North America and Europe, and you feel you have to look beyond these two locations to find them, then either something is seriously lacking in North America and Europe or people just don't want to work for your company!
Why would you look halfway across the world for talent? Are you saying you don't have enough talented people?

Posted by: Skeptic

@SA1...would the analogy be any different if I picked two cities from the continents? How about New York and London (since Dubai is a regional financial hub). Using those, is the argument any different? Do you see NY or London-based firms coming to Dubai to poach the best and brightest? Or is the traffic one way in the opposite direction?

I don't understand your point about firms not wanting to recruit expats. Living in a major North American city, I know that when we recruit, we look globally. We don't just recruit from the local population if we truly do want the most professional and experienced folk.

As for immigration, that occurs for a variety of reasons (ageing domestic population, large land mass that needs to be settled, investment into the economy, etc.). It is hardly just to pick up professionals as you quite naively asserted.

Finally, if the West is "sucking" immigrant talent from everywhere, why aren't they "sucking" it from Dubai?

Posted by: Qatar Expat

Qatar has a far greater problem in recruiting and retaining top talent than the UAE. This is not only due to economic factors but also to the immigration laws where an expat has to wait 6 months from the date of obtaining a Residence Permit to sponsor his family. Also local companies and government agencies tend to hire and fire people at will. Even top executives have no job security, they can be fired within hours for no good reason and regardless of past performance and years of loyal service. NOC's are normally not granted even when the company does the firing so that the employee is banned from entry for 2 years. Family circumstances are not taken into consideration resulting in severe consequences for those with children in schools. UAE recruiters have it easy so they should stop complaining.

Posted by: WHJ

@Skeptic. Dubai would never ever have achieved all its successes and development strides by scraping the bottom of the barrel. When you paint with a broad brush and make general statements you severely undermine your argument and lose credibility. There might be unprofessional expats here who have slipped through the cracks, in fact some of them negatively contribute to this forum, but the progress that's happening by leaps and bounds in Dubai refutes your misguided opinion.
By the way, how's the development of infrastructure in US doing these days? Oh and please make sure your "professionals" do not export another major financial crisis.

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