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Fri 15 Mar 2019 01:46 AM

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Why UAE employers are looking to Asia for staff in 2019

GulfTalent study reveals an increasing share of new jobs in the UAE are being filled by Asian professionals

Why UAE employers are looking to Asia for staff in 2019
The study found that an increasing share of the new vacancies are being filled by candidates of Asian nationality.

UAE employers are planning a net expansion in headcount during 2019, with an increasing share of the new jobs being filled by Asian professionals, according online recruitment firm GulfTalent.

Its study was based on a survey of 300 UAE hiring managers, as well as analysis of talent searches conducted by over 1,000 UAE-based employers on GulfTalent’s database of professionals.

GulfTalent’s study projects a net 9 percent growth in UAE employment this year, with 36 percent of all surveyed companies planning to increase headcount against 27 percent who expect to reduce staff and 37 percent who foresee no change.

The study found that an increasing share of the new vacancies are being filled by candidates of Asian nationality, with employers citing the lower salary expectations of these candidates as the primary reason.

Over the past year, Asian nationals saw a 12 percent increase in their share of approaches by UAE employers hiring on GulfTalent, while Arab and Western expats saw declines of 8 percent and 10 percent respectively.

Confirming this trend, one UAE-based HR manager interviewed by GulfTalent said: “Our hiring preference has been towards Asian expats, as it gives us a balance between the right skill set and a salary expectation that fits our budget.”

Based on GulfTalent’s data, among expatriate professionals working in the UAE and holding the same job title, salaries paid to Asian nationals are on average 20 percent lower than Arab nationals and 40 percent lower than Western nationals.

According to GulfTalent, Indian and Pakistani professionals have seen the biggest surge in interest from employers over the past year, followed by those from the Philippines and Sri Lanka.

At the same time, American, Canadian and Australian nationals all saw declines in hiring by UAE employers. Approaches to British nationals also declined but to a lesser extent, it added.

In their effort to reduce costs, employers surveyed also reported reaching out to less experienced candidates.

GulfTalent’s survey found the fastest growing sectors to be IT and healthcare, both witnessing a 30 percent year-on-year growth in the volume of hiring while the construction sector remains under pressure, with overall hiring limited and some companies downsizing.

Healthcare’s growth is driven by legislation mandating provision of health insurance by employers while IT hiring is driven by increased digitization of services and the continuing expansion of the country’s startup ecosystem.

According to GulfTalent’s findings, the construction sector remains under pressure, with overall hiring limited and some companies downsizing.

Retail is another sector that is facing challenging conditions, due to lower consumer spending resulting from market conditions as well as the jump in prices following the introduction of VAT last year, GulfTalent noted.