Dr Abdulrahman Al Ansari discusses new figures which suggest that the number of professional job advertisements posted in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) rose during the first quarter of 2016.
Professional recruitment consultancy Robert Walters has released its latest Middle East Jobs Index. According to the study, the number of advertised job vacancies for professionals in the UAE rose by 8% between the final quarter of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016. Commenting on this increase, Robert Walters argued that it indicates that Emirati companies are trying to attract new business.
Breaking the Index’s results down by sector, the industries which saw the largest rises in positions advertised during the first quarter of 2016 were sales and marketing (23%) and legal services (6.5%). Robert Walters suggested that rising demand for legal professionals indicates that competition for specialist staff is strong in the Emirates.
However, Robert Walters found that the number of professional jobs advertised by the UAE’s financial services industry fell by 17% within the same period. Meanwhile, the number of jobs advertised by the country’s accounting and finance sector dropped by 7% during the first three months of 2016. Robert Walters shed more light on the jobs decline which has taken place in the UAE’s finance sector.
The firm explained that this drop came at a time where globally, finance companies are restructuring. However due to the country’s greater emphasis on retail banking, the UAE’s finance industry jobs market was hit less hard than other markets. Commenting further, Robert Walters was quoted by Gulf News, a regional news agency, saying: “We do expect an upturn in market confidence towards the end of 2016, which should see more advertised jobs within this sector.”
Robert Walters stressed, however, that after some UAE sectors’ job markets were hit hard during the final quarter of 2015, overall business confidence improved in the first quarter of 2016. Yet Jason Grundy, Robert Walters’ UAE Head, indicated that despite rising business sentiment, there is still a skills gap that Emirati firms need to address.
Explaining further, Grundy said: “Although the UAE remains a popular choice for expats, and indeed job vacancy posts receive a lot of interest globally, we are seeing an increasing gap in company requirements and talent available in the region.” He added that as a result of this skills gap, UAE businesses are increasingly advertising professional vacancies across multiple channels, ensuring they can broadcast open positions to a wider audience.
One reason for the UAE’s skills gap is that the country’s Baby Boomer (those born between 1946 and 1964) generation is heading closer to retirement. UAE businesses are preparing for this skills loss by implementing a number of measures to attract and develop new talent. For instance, a poll from Robert Half, a recruitment specialist, found that 36% of Emirati firms are increasing training and professional development programmes, while 29% are hiring mid-level talent to foster a skills pipeline.
Traditionally, the UAE has been an oil-based economy. However with global oil prices continually falling, in November 2015 the country’s government announced it plans to spend Dh300 billion in order to cultivate a vibrant knowledge-based economy. According to the Khaleej Times, UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan commented on the announcement of this policy.
Speaking on the importance of a knowledge-based economy, Sheikh Khalifa said: “The UAE is working towards establishing a solid future for the coming generations away from the fluctuation of the energy prices and markets… The UAE has set its course for a post-oil world through investing in the development of our people in the fields of science and advanced technology… Creating sustainable wealth for the coming generation will depend on science, knowledge, technology and innovation.”
Robert Walters’ Middle East Job Index shows that the UAE is gradually building a strong knowledge-based economy. But with the country’s Baby Boomers heading closer to retirement, it is vital that the UAE focuses on developing new talent to fill the resulting skills gaps. Companies trading within the UAE, along with the country’s government, are implementing measures to develop the strong professional talent pipeline required to cultivate a robust knowledge-based economy.
Abdulrahman Al Ansari has more than 18 years of experience in the global financial services industry. He serves as the chairman of a number of reputable financial firms including AMA Investment Holding and Bid Capital Management Consultancy.
Dr Abdulrahman’s professional portfolio encompasses a diverse range of sectors from commodities and natural resources to education, healthcare, oil & gas and investment banking. He has earned a reputation as an innovator, who consistently develops new ideas and solutions to address the complex and demanding challenges which confront his clients every day. Over the years, Dr Abdulrahman has cultivated a special interest in the continued economic and community development of the UAE.