Recent times have seen a surge in digitisation within companies and emergence of online businesses, which in turn has led to a strong rise in job opportunities in technical positions across sectors.
There is a strong demand for workers in digitisation, security and data centre projects. Many companies are looking to move an increasing amount of their business to an online model. Businesses are also automating functions and trying to get more out of their IT investments.
Reasonably, the demand is leading to a large number of fresh graduates, including Emiratis, taking up technical positions. As more companies focus on digitisation, hiring in the information technology sector is witnessing a significant uptrend this year.
The constantly-evolving IT industry offers candidates with new opportunities to contribute and explore new avenues to find their way in.
A phenomenal technological transformation has taken place across all industries in the UAE’s private and public sectors. Business are digitising their current businesses, creating new paradigm shifts in the way provision of service or solutions takes place.
The year 2015 witnessed a reduction in hiring and recruitment activity due to economical influences, but recent changes to the UAE labour laws, alongside other contributing factors, has helped the job market to remain positive in 2016. The country’s economic interests are diversified, which places less dependence on the oil and gas sector.
With the government introducing changes to economic policies, the expansion in IT investment and growth offers brighter career prospects in this job market.
While demand for permanent staff has slowed in the first-half of the year and salary increases have been minimal, that for contract staff has remained strong. This is owing to the fact that in uncertain times many companies are choosing to work on a project-based model rather than committing to long-term resources.
Businesses are turning to outsourcing to reduce the reliance on full-time staff as a way to manage fixed costs. Many have taken a cautious approach in the first half of the year as they looked for signs of stability in the region.
This is certainly an opportunity for cost-cutting for companies as outsourcing offers both reduction in cost and increased overall productivity.
New hires have been delayed in various sectors including financial services, retail, and oil and gas. In some areas businesses have cut back, and made productivity and efficiency gains their main drivers.
Better employment ecosystem
Hiring’s focus has shifted from scale to skill with advances in automation has transformed the job market, and more companies embrace technology and digitisation in their operations system. Digitisation is expected to act as catalyst creating a better employment ecosystem in the country.
Signs of confidence are returning to the banking sector where I anticipate that demand for skilled IT staff will grow at a steady rate. IT, telecom, banking, aviation and consulting are the largest sectors that continue at pace in offering better opportunities for more productive candidates.
A shift in business focus from the traditional service provider to solution provider, in addition to the growing entrepreneur activity, would push IT sector to new heights in terms of hiring activities.
Most of the hiring activities are expected in the e-commerce and internet-related sectors. However, there is also a significant opportunity for employment in the health care sector, which is continuing to grow and will remain positive for the job market in the coming years.
Also, with major projects and events like the Dubai Parks, Expo 2020 and Dubai South coming up, the travel, aviation and tourism sectors will remain significant drivers of growth for the coming years.
Long term confidence is still short for companies with many wanting to take a wait-and-see approach. This will lead to continued growth of temporary assignments. Companies in the UAE were hiring less in recent months partly due to lesser liquidity and falling oil prices. Low prices continue to affect recruitment in the oil and gas and related sectors.
However, the UAE’s diversified economy has enabled it to be far more resilient than in previous years.
This year has also seen an increase in team diversity around the management level; recruiting multiple nationalities at different salary levels. Corporations are also investing more resources into their training budgets enabling lower-skilled workers to become more qualified members of their teams.
The writer is vice-president of TASC Outsourcing.