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Fri 4 Mar 2016 01:19 AM

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'Doom and gloom' creeps into UAE recruitment market

Recruitment firm Morgan McKinley says salaries likely to be depressed in 2016; oil and gas sector to have most difficult year in a decade

'Doom and gloom' creeps into UAE recruitment market

The UAE's oil and gas recruitment market is set to have its most difficult year for more than a decade in 2016 as low oil prices continue to depress the market, according to Morgan McKinley.

The global professional services recruiter made the prediction in its latest UAE Salary Guide, adding that salaries are likely to remain flat during the year across most sectors.

It added that nationalisation targets will mean that locals with relevant experience, or professionals with local experience will be highly attractive to employers across all sectors in the region.

The report said government efforts to diversify the UAE economy will lead to employers driving hiring in 2016 in manufacturing companies that produce aviation supplies, fast-moving consumer goods, medical devices and pharmaceuticals.

The report added: "Whilst we were all expecting the financial services to have a buoyant year in 2016, as the Abu Dhabi Global Market becomes fully operational in 2016 forecasted to spark further growth in asset management, private banking and wealth management, this now looks unlikely as we look at the year ahead."

Although salaries are expected to remain broadly flat this year, there will be some significant increases for certain roles compared with the previous year, Morgan McKinley said.

Trefor Murphy, managing director, Morgan McKinley UAE, said: "Since the outlook for 2016 is highly uncertain, some 'doom and gloom' is starting to creep into market sentiment. Whilst the UAE economy is highly diversified and complex, it is still heavily reliant on natural resources, which affects all industries and professional disciplines.

"Undoubtedly the year ahead will be difficult for the UAE, but the government is making the right decisions to ensure that it balances its fiscal budgets and does not fall back into recession."

He added: "We expect salaries to remain broadly flat during the coming year with workers more concerned about remaining employed than pushing for substantial pay increases. There are significant divergences around this forecast, however, with some sectors likely to perform better than others, leading to respective salary growth.

"For example, a greater demand for consultancy services whilst there's a hold on permanent headcount hiring. We are hopeful that salaries will increase above 2015 levels in the second half of 2016, but this will largely depend on what happens to oil prices as the year progresses."

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