Pace of hiring picking up for organisations outside the oil sector

Author: Kirsty Tuxford | Date: 17 Aug 2016

New research shows a 14-month high in recruitment activity

UAE-based organisations outside the oil sector are hiring more employees than they have done all year, with research from Emirates NBD revealing a 14-month high in the pace of hiring activity in the country.
The bank’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for July also shows a change in recruitment trends; during Q2 hiring was stagnant, while figures for July show a significant acceleration.
The healthcare sector is one of the strongest, creating many jobs. This trend has been observed since the government introduced mandatory private health insurance for all employees.
“This has been a year of caution so far as recruitment is concerned and it has generally been a very flat market,” said Paul Turner, regional director MENA at recruitment specialist Havas People. “The oil and gas sector has obviously suffered the most, but even in other sectors there has been uncertainty and in some cases, job losses. For example, the retail and hospitality sectors have seen some fallout from restructuring, as consumer spending reduced and margins grew tighter during the early part of the year.
“Having said all that, there does appear to be some confidence returning to the market. Recent Emirates NBD research is indicating that the UAE will achieve three per cent growth this year, which is high enough to create jobs and promote further growth in 2017, particularly in areas such as healthcare, both in terms of recruiting local Emirati talent but also bringing in expat medical expertise,” he added.
Some organisations have not been affected by the economic slowdown at all, according to the 2016 Boston Consulting Group (BCG) ‘Challengers’ report. Middle Eastern employers that have reported continued growth in revenue and profit throughout the slowdown include: Etihad Airways, Etisalat, Emirates Global Aluminium, Egypt-based El Sewedy Electric, Qatar Airways and Saudi chemical company SABIC.
Etisalat is boosting the telecom sector due to its size – it caters to approximately 11 million customers in the UAE. Emirates Global Aluminium has plans to expand internationally, and El Sewedy and SABIC are also enjoying success in reaching international markets.
Saudi Aramco and Emirates Airlines are also listed in the BCG report as being on their way to becoming ‘global leaders’, alongside 103 other companies in the Middle East to watch during the next 10 years.
However, other GCC countries don’t enjoy such a positive outlook. Research by career services website Monster, shows that the Qatar job market has shrunk over the past year. Analysis reportedly indicates that jobs posted online fell by 25 per cent from June 2015 to June 2016 after several large employers shed staff. Monster data reports that professional expat numbers are also falling. Qatar, for example, is focusing on employing unskilled labourers to complete construction projects for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.