Hiring managers in the UAE are finding a flood of applications for each advertised job vacancy. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: Businesses in the UAE are having it easy filling up vacancies from a fast expanding expat pool – but homing on those candidates with the right skillsets is still a challenge.

Nearly half of business leaders in a new survey say this is ‘especially true when seeking candidates who are already in the UAE or have previous UAE experience’. And one in five agree that this is ‘particularly challenging’.

“Highly skilled talent – particularly with experience of the UAE market – can command higher salaries,” said Gareth El Mettouri, Director – Middle East at Robert Half, the consultancy that came out with the findings. “Many businesses are opting for the cheaper option only to end up back where they started when their new hires do not work out.

“It is important that business leaders weigh up the importance of the skills they need against the cost, or they could find their growth impeded by a lack of talent.”

According to the recruitment consultancy, around 72 per cent of businesses in the UAE expect to make new hires in the next six months. “The strong UAE economy is supporting business growth, with half citing this as the main reason they are looking to hire new,” the study finds. And three in 10 are ‘looking to backfill’ vacant roles or to relieve understaffing that is preventing the business from achieving its goals.

This is also where the new additions to the UAE resident base is helping, with 71 per cent of hiring managers saying it has become easier to attract workers over the past 12 months. Half of them agree that many of the new residents are immigrating without having a job secured.

“With the hiring market firmly on the side of business, leaders are reaping the rewards of the expat deluge,” the report notes. Two in five say it is taking less time to get candidates into a role because they are immediately available, while 32 per cent report that unemployed expats are willing to take large pay cuts to secure a role.

“The competition for jobs is fierce, and many are having to settle for lower salaries or take the first role offered to them to stay, putting businesses in a strong position,” said El Mettouri.

More applications for each position
More than half hiring managers polled by Robert Half say they are receiving more job applications per role than they were 12 months ago. and a similar proportion (48 per cent) agreeing that they can pick and choose talent because there are more expats available.