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Morgan McKinley publishes Q1 2015 UAE Employment Monitor

Year-on-year analysis: 23% more jobs were created in the professional hiring market between Q1 of 2014 (6,653) and Q1 of 2015 (8,213).

Professional job seekers snapshot: In Q1 2015 compared to the Q1 2014 there was a 16% increase in active job seekers.  The number of job seekers equated to 35,123. In this quarter over the previous quarter comparison the United Arab Emirates saw a 5% increase in (40,722) professionals active within its jobs market between Q4 2014 and Q1 2015.

Oil price affecting growth

The professional hiring market grew by 1% with 8,162 jobs being created between October and December 2014 compared to 8,213 jobs in the period between January and March 2015.

“The low oil price has contributed to taken a level of buoyancy out of the market, making both private and governmental organisations slightly reluctant to proceed with any kind of aggressive growth plan”, explains Trefor Murphy, Managing Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Morgan McKinley.

However, the oil sector is expected to strengthen and underpin 3-4% year-on-year GDP growth in the UAE in 2015 and 2016, and so this should spur on at least moderate growth in the professional hiring market. “We’ve had strong growth quarter-on-quarter up until Q1 2015”, says Murphy. The fall in oil price led to a dampening of the market, which hasn’t been helped by the planning of large infrastructure projects being either put on hold or slowed down.

Sectoral demand

Banking isn’t necessarily a panacea for employment in all types of jobs within the sector though. Murphy explains why: “Across banking we’ve seen a reduction in the requirements for risk professionals, but there is heavy demand for compliance and legal professionals.”

Nevertheless this is strong demand in specialist finance in areas such as internal auditing, project and corporate finance, with manufacturing, compensation & benefits specialist, IT and marketing all continuing to show good growth too. Yet the oil and gas sector has slowed down. Consequently there are no major requirements coming out of the industry – except in the replacement of vacant jobs, created by people leaving or retiring from their employment in order to live and work elsewhere.

“Pharmaceutical and the FMCG sectors want to focus on top-line growth and so many organisations are focused on increasing their Sales & Marketing function whilst still keeping a close eye on tighter procurement and spending to reduce costs – and so a number of companies are looking for expertise in Six Sigma or lean techniques”, adds Murphy. The prospect of rent increases even though they are capped, This has had a negative impact on overseas talent moving to the UAE.

Forecasts are promising

In total, across all of the sectors, 23% more jobs were created in the professional hiring market between Q1 of 2014 (6,653) and Q1 of 2015 (8,213). In spite of media speculation that the region’s economic fortunes have been dimmed not just by oil prices, but by the uncertainties created by conflict in countries such as Syria, Morgan McKinley forecasts that professional hiring in Q2 of 2015 will be buoyant. In spite of the market scepticism about growth, an increase in oil prices back to over $100 per barrel could lead to a return to a higher level of growth than analysts predict.

“I think we will see a return to good growth and organisations that were curbed in Q1 of 2015 will see the numbers pick up across the year, and across three quarters we will return to a growth rate of 6-8% in new professional hiring recruitment growth” concludes Trefor Murphy. To ensure this happens the UAE government is making sure that it doesn’t extend itself by being fiscally tight, and by trying to keep living costs down through the control of property rental increases in order to take the heat out of the market.


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