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Hiring back on track for UAE employment market at Y/E 2015

Morgan McKinley UAE has released its fourth quarter 2015 Employment Monitor, which showed jobs availability increased by 4% over the previous two quarters.


Morgan McKinley said the professional recruitment market will remain challenged in Q1 of 2016 as long as the price of oil continues to be under pressure. However, the slowdown showed signs of abating with the number of jobs available in Q4 2015 at 7,899 compared with 7,621 in Q3 2015.


Year-on-year market growth showed a marginal decrease: Compared to Q4 2014 the UAE saw a fall of 3% in Q4 2015 in the number of new jobs available in the professional hiring market.


The number of professionals seeking jobs in the UAE stood at 37,999, 3% less than in Q3 2015, resulting in a flat second half of the year.


Year-on-year comparison: The number of professional job seekers in the UAE market fell 2% year-on-year between Q4 2014 and Q4 2015.


Morgan McKinley stressed that the oil price continues to weigh on the hiring market, but there remain pockets of opportunity for specific capabilities.


“Despite the flat numbers and the market compression caused by the price of oil it was a busier quarter than Q3,” commented Trefor Murphy, managing director for the Middle East and North Africa at Morgan McKinley. “Companies made up the remainder of their hiring budgets in Q4 and this supported that market in Q4.”


Looking into 2016, the price of oil will be a key driver for the economy with two schools of thought: those who believe the price of oil will continue to decrease and those who believe it will rebound. As a general guideline, Murphy believes that if oil drops below $20, then we will have a very challenging year, if on the other hand it climbs to around $55, then we will see a healthy expansion of the economy.


Despite the economic tailwinds, Murphy does see opportunities for international candidates with specific skills. A contracting economy creates business consolidation, so there is demand for mergers and acquisitions experts who are able to drive deals to closure. And although showing signs of calming down, the private wealth management sector is still doing well.


“This type of economic environment inevitably creates an impetus for cost-cutting skills,” says Murphy. “Accountants and corporate finance specialists who have a track record of reducing expenditures will be in demand in the first quarter.”


Even if the employment market continues to contract, opportunities remain. According to Murphy, the more ambitious organisations realise that good sales skills are vital in getting the most out of existing clients as well as in attracting new clients. Sales personnel with a proven track record and who can deliver an existing book of clients will be in strong demand in 2016.


“In a weaker economy there is still an employment market. Employers will have to adapt to the new challenges and this inevitably results in recruiting opportunities,” says Murphy.


In Murphy’s view Q1 will prove to be challenging, but provided we see a bottoming in the price of oil he is optimistic about Q2. “The jobs market has remained resilient in the last quarter, indicating a possible bottoming out. Oil will not go to zero and volatility works both ways. When it comes, a turnaround in a market such as the UAE will be swift,” Murphy concluded.



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