Applicants queue at a job fair last week in New York City. Weekly jobless claims fell to a five-year low in a hopeful sign for the economy Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Seven in ten companies in the UAE plan to hire new employees in the next 12 months, according to the latest research.

A survey among nearly 1,500 respondents conducted between May 19 and July 19 found that 69 per cent of UAE employers plan to recruit new staff within the next year, up from 67 per cent during the same period in 2016.

Firms have expressed intention to place candidates in junior executive, coordinator, manager, sales executive and administrative assistant roles. Opportunities will still vary across industries, although a number of small, medium to large-scale enterprises in the private sector are expected to offer vacancies.

“In the UAE, the hiring forecast shows a continuation of a strong job market, with nearly seven in ten UAE employers planning to hire within the next year and more than one in two planning to hire within three months,” said Suhail Masri, vice president of employer solutions at Bayt.com, which conducted the study with YouGov.

Sluggish recruitment

Hiring activity in the country has been sluggish in the last couple of years, as organisations turned cautious about hiring and opted to streamline payrolls to cope with the slowdown caused by weak oil prices.

According to the latest Monster Employment Index (MEI), online job listings by companies in the UAE dropped by 14 per cent in the second quarter of the year compared to the previous quarter. Opportunities can still be found in businesses least affected by the slowdown, especially those selling or manufacturing consumer goods, gems and jewellery, garments, textiles and leather.

Various online job portals also continue to show new vacancies being advertised. At getthat.com, more than 2,500 jobs have just been listed as of August 28. Almost the same number of openings can also be found on Bayt.com.

“We have also seen that more than a third (36 per cent) of those planning to hire in the UAE within three months are looking to [recruit] for more than five job roles,” added Masri.

Among those polled, about three quarters said their company has hired new employees in the past 12 months. About half of them claimed that they have recruited within the past three months alone.

Qualifications and skills in demand

For the next year, candidates with business management, engineering and commerce degrees may just be in luck, but they need to be team players and able to converse well in Arabic and English.

Bayt.com’s survey showed that 33 per cent of companies in the UAE are looking for Business Management graduates, while 32 per cent prefer Engineering graduates. Applicants with Commerce degrees are preferred by 25 per cent of the employers.

Jobseekers that are team players, cooperative, helpful and flexible are the most in demand, as they are preferred by 53 per cent of UAE companies, followed by those with an “ability to work under pressure” (50 per cent) and “good communication skills” – Arabic and English (47 per cent).

Respondents polled for the survey were from UAE and other parts of the Middle East.