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UAE job market expands in 2011 as economy grows


Shehab Al Makahleh, Staff Reporter - Gulf News

Report shows 93% of employers anticipate increasing their head count in the first quarter of this year but will be very cautious

Abu Dhabi: The UAE's job market expanded in 2011 and this is slated to continue in 2012 with many UAE companies expecting an increase in their head count this year, Gulf Recruitment Group, one of UAE's leading executive recruiters, said in a report.

The report revealed that companies including multinationals and leading local companies have expressed confidence that 2012 will see accelerated business activity and with this greater hiring in the UAE and the wider region.

Top sectors
The he report shows 93 per cent of employers anticipate increasing their head count in the first quarter of this year, but will be looking at recruiting much more cautiously.

Mark Timms, director of the Gulf Recruitment Group, said, "Overall, employers anticipate a continued hiring pace compared to 2011, with the brightest job prospects reported by employers in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG)s, construction and pharmaceutical sectors.

"On the other hand, corporate and retail banking sector are expected to be more challenging while the investment banking sector is likely to be flat. There will, however, be some good news for candidates seeking careers in the insurance industry," he said.
The report shows an increase of 46 per cent in live mandates received and placed in 2011 compared to 2010 and envisions this to improve significantly throughout 2012.

The construction sector will see increased demand in the first two quarters of this year with 17 per cent of organisations reviewed having a manpower plan in place for next year, it showed.

"It is very clear that the UAE economy is picking up in various sectors and with significant regional projects being announced, much of the expertise for these projects is being sourced from the UAE," according to the report.

The UAE job market had been in a much better status last year than in 2010 due to the growth and improvement of the local economy, Konstantina Sakelloriou, Marketing and Oprations Director at Stanton Chase, said.

Sakelloriou added that there were many international events that had affected the local job market.

"The economic downturn of the US and Europe has influenced the banking sector which led to laying off people. In the UAE, we are in the slowdown period rather than the laying off period," said Skelloriou.

Arab Spring
Hasnain Qazi, Middle East Business Manager at Huxley Associates, said: "The Eurozone crisis, US unemployment, global economic downturn, dismal stock market performance had forced the international banks and investment banks which are based in the UAE to reduce costs and lay off staff in 2011."

This was visible with a large number of brokers being layed off while some brokerage firms have either shut doors or shrunk their operations.

The Arab Spring was the most important event that shaped the job market in 2011, said experts.

"The Arab Spring which spread from Tunisia, to Egypt, To Libya, to Syria and the sanctions against Iran had led to further influxes of businesses, individuals and capital from these regions to the UAE as a safe haven," said Ziyad Dabbas, chief financial analyst at the National Bank of Abu Dhabi.

"This has benefited the UAE and its economy and has created new opportunities," he said.

Sakellariou said: "The Arab Spring helped executives to move from the affected region to the UAE. Many people transferred their property from these countries to the UAE."

"The 30 per cent plus pay hike for government workers in the UAE will exert pressure on employers and this will help increase salaries at the private sector," he said.

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