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Sat 13 Dec 2014 02:21 AM

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UAE sees talent shortage as more expats stay at home

Strong US and UK employment prospects mean demand outweighs supply for specialist occupations in UAE

UAE sees talent shortage as more expats stay at home

The UAE employment market continues to thrive and demand for specialist occupations far outweighs supply, resulting in talent shortages across the region, according to the Robert Half 2015 Salary Guide.

Despite challenges recruiting staff, salaries for professional roles in finance and accounting, financial services, information technology, legal, HR and administration rose on average by two percent over the past 12 months, it said.

Compounding hiring challenges is stronger employment prospects in the UK and US resulting in fewer expatriates to the region, Robert Half said.

The Robert Half 2015 Salary Guide said accounting and finance recruitment in the UAE has returned to pre-recessionary levels, with companies expanding existing teams as well as investing in new initiatives.

According to UAE CFOs, 43 percent plan to increase finance team salaries for existing staff by an average of 6 percent, while 27 percent will increase bonuses, with 51 percent aiming to keep them at current levels.

The survey said financial services hiring has levelled in the past year, following previous aggressive recruitment activity resulting from departmental expansion and creation as well as new entrants into the market.

Still, competition for skilled financial services talent is acute with nearly all executives citing challenges sourcing skilled professionals.

According to the report, compensation in the HR recruitment sector is increasing with more than four in 10 HR directors indicating that they will be increasing salaries for existing staff and companies are trying to stand out by offering perks like flexible working, subsidised training and additional annual leave.

Gareth El Mettouri, associate director, Robert Half UAE said: "With hiring returning to pre-recessionary levels, businesses are feeling the talent crunch and are struggling to source the staff they need to leverage sustained growth in the region.

"Despite strong demand and short supply, companies are still only offering modest salary increases and are finding that they are unable to attract the right talent to fill critical roles.

“Businesses still hope that expatriate recruitment will bridge the talent shortfall, but this is proving challenging as global economies improve and many of the professionals who were attracted to the Middle East during the downturn are finding appealing opportunities at home.

"Firms are stepping up efforts, conducting remote interviews and accommodating relocation efforts while others are making offers within weeks of an expatriate’s arrival.”

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Wolfgang Altenstrasser 5 years ago

Yet I am here in the UAE, holding two master's degrees in engineering and management plus work experience in the UK and the EU and I cannot even get a SINGLE interview with one of these recruitment companies.
Explain that to me, please!
Wolfgang Altenstrasser

Ali 5 years ago

May be because there are thousands of qualified asians here ready to do similar jobs with half the salary you are expecting.. it is simple supply & demand.

Roger Jodoin 5 years ago

That does not explain why the gentleman cannot get an interview; how can you state your salary requirement if you don't even get an interview?

Charlie Tunar 5 years ago

Ali submits a very interesting and widely stated and accepted point. However, assuming from Wolfgang's name, he's European and probably has EU credentials. One needs to simply look at international academic ranking services to anecdotally come to the conclusion that more EU and North American academic entities generally have higher standards than most Asian institutions. Yes there are exceptions, but IIT is not MIT, no matter the propaganda stating otherwise. In the West there is a saying, "You pay peanuts, you get monkeys". Understanding this could start an 'interesting' dialogue, but it needs to be had!

Mosa 5 years ago

@Wolfgang Altenstrasser: That is shocking to know. We all know such a thing is happening behind the curtains, where highly qualified people are struggling, but hardly anyone comes up and speaks out.
Job situation here is very mysterious, no one knows whether there are valid vacancies, and if there are, whether people are being recruited internally through references or from outside.

langyaw 5 years ago

Perhaps your work experience is deficient. Without these, your 2 masters will mean little. I suggest you do not disclose those 2 degrees, so you don't appear to be a threat to those who will make the decision to hire you.
just my 2 cents.
-- langyaw

Singh 5 years ago

There is freeze in Hiring in UAE due to low oil prices uncertainty.
Its not bcz of talent shortage in UAE (as mentioned in the article), its due to the Oil market uncertainty which would have umbrella impact over everything.

Ram Dar 5 years ago

Dear Mr. Wolfgang;

You are "overqualified" to be considered in any job. Good luck in your job hunting within the UK and EU markets.

SAM 5 years ago

Agreed; I do however, question the authenticity of this person's claim. He did not mention what he is applying for (CEOs job?) and he listed his personal email, which shows a poor judgement. Any decent recruitment company will provide the applicant of the reasons for declining his application.

The Consultant 5 years ago

@Wolfgang, what Ali actually means is there is no shortage of people (of many nationalities) in the GCC who will happily follow a set of instructions with no thought to innovation or quality and ideally without having to deviate from their set routine or take responsibility for anything other than following said instructions to the letter. Unsurprisingly, these people will require less pay than someone who actually seeks to add value to their employer's business.

There are jobs out there that will pay well for quality, the trick (as always) is being in the right place at the right time. For that you will need to develop your network, approach specialist recruiters (too much like hard work for most of the mainstream ones) and perhaps apply directly to those companies that might have a suitable vacancy. Good luck.