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Wed 8 Dec 2010 12:35 PM

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Increased demand for skilled workers - survey

Salaries remain unchanged but confidence in job security is up

Increased demand for skilled workers - survey
DEMAND INCREASE: The UAE is seeing an increase in demand for skilled workers in an improving job market (Getty Images)

The UAE is seeing an increase in demand for skilled workers, an improving job market and an overall rise in confidence in job security, Robert Half, the world’s leading specialized recruitment company, said in its 2011 UAE Salary Guide.

The report said that although salaries have remained largely unchanged since last year, demand is returning to key local employment markets like financial services, finance, technology and accounting.

Half found that three in 10 CFOs are replacing departed employees and expanding teams; 50 percent of workers accepting counter-offers from other UAE companies leave their current jobs within six months; and that – most tellingly – bonuses are back for top workers in the banking and legal fields.

“Our survey shows that 86 percent of respondents in Dubai are more confident about their company’s growth prospects compared to the previous year,” the report said. “This compares favourably to the global average of 78 percent. Additionally, 37 percent of respondents from Dubai indicate they are more confident about their job security compared to last year, versus the global average of 21 percent.”

Employers are now willing to increase their budgets in order to offer more money to a much-wanted prospect, or to make counter-offers to employees who are considering other firms. But this can backfire – as many as half of the candidates who decide to stay with their current employer will be dissatisfied again and looking for new work within half a year.

“When it comes to salary levels in 2011, we’re seeing they’re staying at similar levels as 2010, with slight rises in financial services and accounting,” James Sayer, associate director for Half’s Dubai office, said in an interview with Arabian Business. “In the financial services area there’s a return of bonuses, reconfirming that the economies around the world are moving back into recovery mode, and they are looking to increase head counts in 2011.”

He added that in the UAE, two employment groups will benefit the most in 2011. “We’re seeing that when it comes to financial services and legal there’s increased appetites,” he said. “Private banks and equity houses are being more active in markets in terms of mergers and acquisitions, which leads to more traffic for the legal industry.”

The report showed the UAE – with its highly transient, heavily expat workforce --  bucking worldwide employment trends.

Thirteen percent of job candidates here place a higher emphasis on brand recognition and corporate stability than their global counterparts.

Only one in five (expect an optimal work-life balance in the next five years – far below their peers in Europe, where 50-70 per cent of professionals anticipate a pleasant work-life balance.

Thirty-two percent of locally-based professionals intend to take steps to enhance their marketability to employers. In Europe, that number falls to 18 percent.

Half’s UAE Salary Guide 2011 reports typical salary ranges for roles in finance and accounting, financial services, technology, legal (practice and in-house) and HR, with differentiators for small, medium-sized and large employers.

“Although the days in the Mideast of large signing bonuses and high salaries may be gone forever,” it said, “companies need to be aware of prevailing wages and benefits in order to stay competitive.”

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