86% of UAE companies intend to hire in the next year
February 19th, 2018, Antonia Stockwell

86% of UAE companies intend to hire in the next year

Good communication in Arabic and English, being a team player, and the ability to work under pressure are most-sought after skills for UAE employers in 2018

Fresh findings from the Middle East Job Index survey conducted by the Middle East’s #1 job site, Bayt.com, and YouGov has found a positive outlook for the job market in the UAE in the short and longer term with 86% of companies intending to hire within the next year and three-quarters looking to recruit within the next three months.

The in-depth study, which tracks job availability and hiring trends in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) market and provides an understanding of the required skills and qualifications in the region, also found that nearly four in five (79%) working respondents in the UAE say their company has hired new employees in the last 12 months.

UAE job outlook for the next three months

In the short term, for UAE companies looking to hire in the next three months, the study found that two thirds (67%) will be hiring for ‘up to 20 jobs’, while 14% say they will be hiring for ‘up to 100 jobs’. The greatest demand will be for ‘junior executives’ (43%), ‘managers’ (36%), ‘coordinators’ and ‘senior executives’ (both 30%), and ‘executives’ (28%). The most common roles UAE companies are looking to fill in the short term are for ‘sales executives’ (28%), ‘accountants’ (26%), ‘project managers’ (20%), ‘sales managers’ (19%), and ‘directors’ (18%).

Across the region, ‘small/medium local companies’ in the private sector will be hiring most (76%). The research highlights the industries that are most likely to hire are: ‘Consumer Goods/FMCG’ (81% are planning to hire), ‘Real Estate/Construction/Property Development’ (80%), and ‘Hospitality/Recreation/Entertainment’ (78%).

MENA job outlook in the next 12 months

In the long term, regionally, ‘small/ medium local companies’ as well as ‘multinational companies’ have the highest hiring potential, where 89% will be hiring in the next year. The top five industries with the strongest hiring plans are ‘Business Consultancy/ Business Management’ (97%), ‘Consumer Goods/ FMCG’ (95%), ‘Hospitality/ Recreation/ Entertainment’ (94%), ‘Banking/ Finance’ (93% are planning to hire), and ‘Commerce/ Retail/ Trade’ (92%), all of which plan to hire within the next 12 months.

Skills, roles, and academic qualifications in demand in the UAE

The top skill in demand in the UAE this year is being a ‘team player/cooperative/helpful/flexible’ – according to 49% of employers. Another highly sought-after skill is good ‘communication skills in Arabic and English’ according to 48% of employers, followed by the ‘ability to work under pressure’ and ‘good leadership skills’ (both 45%).

Academic qualifications such as ‘business management’ (29%), ‘commerce’ (28%), and ‘engineering (23%) emerged as the most desirable educational requirements amongst UAE employers in particular.

When considering the level and type of experience UAE employers are searching for, four in ten (40%) say they are particularly interested in ‘mid-level experience between three and seven years’, while more than a third (36%) seek experience in ‘sales and marketing’, and another third (32%) seek ‘managerial’ experience. Meanwhile, just over a quarter (27%) are looking for candidates with ‘senior level experience between 7 and 10 years’, with another quarter (25%) looking for candidates with ‘junior level experience of less than three years’.

As for the most appealing industries in the UAE, the country’s respondents believe the main industries attracting and retaining ‘top talent’ are ‘Real Estate, Construction, and Property Management’ (31%) and ‘Advertising, Marketing, and Public Relations’ (30%).

Interestingly, the study found that the ‘Banking and Finance’ industry (34%) is believed to be the main industry attracting and retaining ‘national talent’ and ‘fresh graduates’. Meanwhile, ‘Advertising, Marketing, and Public Relations’ (45%) is believed to be the main industry attracting ‘top female talent’ in particular.

“The Middle East Job Index is a very critical indicator that shows the region’s hiring activities. With an upward trend this year, the number of job openings in the UAE is forecasted to grow. It is also worth noting that with so many local SME’s planning to hire this year, growth of this vital sector seems to be a priority in 2018,” said Nehal Jibouri, Head of Custom Research, YouGov.

Data for the February 2018 Middle East Job Index Survey was collected online from 5th December 2017 to 28th January 2018. Results are based on a sample of 1,883 respondents, 1,641 of whom were of working status, from the following countries: UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Palestine, Syria, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Sudan, and Pakistan.

The Middle East Job Index Survey, published twice a year, is a reflective study on existing and potential job opportunities in the Middle East and North Africa. For employers, the report provides information on the attractiveness of particular sectors, industries, and job locations. For job seekers, it is a useful depiction of the changes in job availability as well as a guide for hiring potential by area, country, sector, experience level, desired skills, and more.

Download the full Job Index report »