Hiring trends for recruitment in the UAE in 2017


Research from Robert Walters has found that salaries in the Middle East will increase by 2% on average in 2017 with a flat start to the year, but with modest gains coming across the board in H2.

Despite the slump in the price of oil over the last 24 months and subdued business confidence, economic growth in the run up to Expo 20/20 will increase demand for talent across legal, finance, sales & marketing, procurement and IT in 2017.

Procurement and supply chain professionals will enjoy the strongest salary growth at 3%, with sales and marketing seeing a 1.5% increase.

Jason Grundy, Robert Walters Country Head – Middle East comments;

On Banking & Financial Services

“Financial services recruitment continues to be challenging.   With 23 local banks and 28 foreign banks in the UAE alone we expect more consolidation in this sector.  The bright star is nationalisation, Emirati graduates are seeking out this sector of choice and real progress is being made in nationalising this market place”

On Hotel & Hospitality sector

“Dubai’s ambitious target of 20 million visitors a year by 2020 is still on track. The government is removing obstacles to entry, including visas on arrival for Chinese visitors, and it wants to attract tourists from a wide range of countries. This, along with widespread economic stimulus in the run-up to Expo 20/20, will increase talent demand in the areas of legal, finance, sales and marketing, procurement, IT and strategy into the hotel and hospitality sector.”

On Supply Chain

“The UAE market was adversely affected by a variety of factors over the course of 2016, including political instability in the Middle East, the low price of oil, China stagnation and a strong dollar. This resulted in employers focusing on optimisation of supply chain functions due to changes in consumer behaviour. However, as the economy improves we expect positive growth in 2017.”

On Sales and Marketing

“If oil prices move above $60 a barrel in 2017, it will lead to an increase in government spending and a rise in consumer confidence. Organisations will therefore gradually grow their sales and marketing functions to help them drive sales and profitability.”

On Accounting & Finance

“Hiring was flat in 2016 but we anticipate that the market will move in a more positive direction in 2017. This is partly a result of large organisations opening shared service centres which will drive an increase in core finance and accounting hires. Roles such as financial planning and analysis managers, financial business partners, as well as senior tax professionals, will be in high demand as the GCC prepares for the introduction of VAT in 2018.”

Jason Grundy continues:

“With speculators now holding net-long positions on oil in the markets, this bodes well for the regions economy in general and a vote of confidence for OPEC.  “Cautiously optimistic” is an overused copout, I’m optimistic for 2017.”

For further information please contact Monique Miller on monique.miller@robertwalters.com or +27 (0)11 881 2416

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