The hiring manager may like the candidate and understand that the person was not implicated, but there is that blemish on the resume, so the compensation offered is likely to be less. Picture for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: If you're looking for better employment opportunities this year, you may have a better shot at landing a job in 2018 compared to a year ago.

This is because, with the introduction of value-added tax (VAT), improving business conditions, and as companies who have previously downscaled are looking to get back on track and Expo 2020 drawing closer, job openings are gradually moving back into the picture.

According to hiring specialists Hays, recruitment activity in the UAE and the rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region is set to increase this year compared to 2017, with 71 per cent of companies looking to hire additional staff in the next 12 months.

Within the UAE alone, 70 per cent of employers plan to hire, while 63 per cent forecast market activity to increase year-on-year for their business.

As of 2017, nearly half of organisations across the region (40 per cent) reportedly expanded headcounts. 

And so far, there has been an increased demand for workers to fill sales and executive positions, as well as information technology (IT), construction and property, and tax-related roles.

However, some companies are still keeping a lid on personnel costs, with a third of employers reporting to have cut down on their workforces in 2017 and 2016.

These trends shared by Hays were based on a survey of 4,250 professionals in the GCC.

Chris Greaves, managing director of Hays Gulf region, said some organisations are actively hiring as they have seen many opportunities opening up as a result of the "continued diversification of the local economy and the growing globalised nature of the market."

What companies are looking for

He said there is significant demand for people in sales, particularly business development professionals with industry experience and networks. This is due to the “increasing volume of new business ventures being drawn to the region in response to the tax-free environment, relatively low barriers to entry and the UAE’s location as a central hub for business.”

UAE companies especially those who have previously downscaled, are also looking to hire C-level turnaround specialists “who can lead their business into sustained periods of growth.”

 “Beyond these, we also believe there to be an increasing number of roles available within the IT industry, thanks to a growing focus on e-commerce and digitalisation of businesses across all sectors, and construction and property industries in response to the growing number of affordable housing projects set to take place within UAE and Saudi Arabia,” he added.

“Regionally of course, the upcoming introduction of VAT will also drive new opportunities for tax implementation specialists and there will be growing interest and investment in the job market in the build up to Expo 2020.”