These days, there aren't too many positions being advertised. But wherever hiring is taking place, candidates with highly honed skills are getting through. A bit of experience also helps. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: Are you a banker with insights into financial modelling and enterprise risk management? Then you stand a chance of getting to the front of the queue when it comes to hiring time.

The other sought-after roles are those of investment associate, risk director and fund finance manager, according to a report by the consultancy Michael Page, which has released a report on the in-demand jobs across sectors.

“Consolidation in the banking sector means there is an abundance of talent available for clients to choose from - and fewer jobs,” the Middle East Salary Guide & Hiring Insights 2021 states. “Candidates must have a clear CV with defined skill sets so they can position themselves as specialists in their domain.

"The opportunity to move into a new skill-set is diminished as employers are seeking to hire like-for-like to achieve greater efficiencies.”

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Consultants wanted but...

The Michael Page report says that candidates with backgrounds in corporate strategy and planning, business project and transformation stand a much higher chance of landing a job. The report comes at a time when the UAE and Gulf hiring market has been upended by the pandemic. A recent update from the research firm IHS Markit reckons that job losses in the UAE private sector picked up pace in December.

In such an environment, consultants with skills or experience related to corporate and business unit strategy, project management, or growth strategy are in with a chance. “Clients seeking a strong balance of top-tier academic background, with exceptional technical abilities and proven Middle East experience often find themselves competing with a large number of attractive employers,” the report states.

“Candidates coming from more sophisticated markets who possess these qualities come at a premium and will always have a variety of options to choose from, even in challenging markets.” 

The report added that hiring managers should focus on the quality of a professional’s deliverables and their potential ability to transition into a new business, rather than only looking for a seasoned sector expert, “which limits the opportunity to bring a fresh perspective and minimises the development opportunity of a new employee.”

Digital roles

The digital sector is quite the happening sector to be, with COVID-19 forcing companies to digitize their businesses within a small period of time. This shows in job prospects as well.

“The demand for digital talent has increased on a global scale and across borders,” said the consultancy. “With many borders closed throughout 2020, the challenge of relocating top talent into the region has been the number one hurdle faced by businesses”

Employers are eagerly hiring software developers, digital marketers, and product managers, among others. If IT professionals are looking to impress new or prospective employers, they better have mastery over software, web and mobile development, agile project management, and growth hacking and data driven marketing.

Retail chances

Last year was probably the worst one for brick-and-mortar retailers. Companies are now reinventing themselves by selling online and bringing out easy-to-use apps – if they hadn't done so already. This has also changed the job requirements of Middle East’s retailers.

The most in-demand jobs in this field are trainers, VIP client managers, marketers (with ecommerce experience), buyers for online channels and contract sales staff.