Dubai: Job hunting in the UAE has gotten tougher during the summer months, with nearly seven in ten job hunters saying they’re having trouble looking for new opportunities.

In a survey conducted among 920 people in the UAE, 63 per cent of the respondents said they're struggling with their job search right now, as the environment of low returns and high volatility persists.

Across the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region, about half shared the same view.

Professionals and fresh graduates in the region have been having difficulty landing new jobs, partly due to economic uncertainties and decline in oil revenues.A number of companies have streamlined their businesses, reduced their workforce and frozen the hiring of new staff.

What makes it even more challenging for applicants is that businesses tend to go through a slow period during the summer months. It is the time of year when a huge proportion of the population take their annual holidays to visit friends and family, or explore new places.

“[This is] partly due to the fact that most recruiters and hiring managers tend to take a vacation during the summer,” said Suhail Masri, vice president, employer solutions for, which conducted the survey.

Contributing to the slowdown is the fact that business output drops at this time of year, according to Annalinde Nickisch, HR consultant at the Thought Factory. “Though loss of work productivity and a reduced number of commercial transactions are contributing factors, the primary reason for the negative economic impact is the absence of senior and decision-making staff members, due to a higher rate of annual leave,” she added. “Subsequently, this affects the recruitment process of many organizations.”

Recruitment specialist Robert Half had earlier polled finance leaders in UAE to find out whether businesses indeed slow down during the summer months. The majority (93 per cent) admitted this time of year has a negative impact on their business.

The largest impact is due to annual leave (46 per cent), "less managerial" direction for teams with senior leaders absent (27 per cent) and lost productivity (19 per cent). A further 13 per cent said their workforce is less motivated over the summer months.

"The summer months often result in a slowdown of commercial activity for many UAE businesses," said Gareth El Mettouri, UAE associate director of Robert Half.

In order to get themselves noticed, job applicants are strongly advised to make “every application count.” They should avoid resorting to the “volume strategy” by sending mass email to potential employers and focus instead on sectors that are still doing well.

“With fewer openings available in the market, candidates should ensure that their submission is tailored to the organization to which they are applying. Similarly, candidates should spend time in researching the local market and focus their efforts on industries that are still growing and least impacted by the slowing summer months,” Nickisch said. conducted the study to find out more about the job search and workplace productivity perceptions among residents in the region. A total of 7,024 respondents from the UAE, Bahrain, Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Tunisia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Yemen participated in the poll.

Across the Mena region, about a quarter (26.4 per cent) said that the difficulty of finding a job is the same year-round, while a small proportion said it is much easier to find a job during the summer.

A huge number of the employees (72.4 per cent) across the region do tend to take a vacation during the summer months, with the majority  taking a holiday of two weeks or less (60.3 per cent), while around one in five either taking a vacation of three weeks (18.2 per cent) or longer (21.5 per cent).

More findings

When asked about productivity levels, nearly half of those who opt to stay back (42.5 per cent) said they do manage to get a lot accomplished during the slow season.

Nearly four in ten (35.3 per cent) claimed they are busier during summer, while 20.8 per cent did admit that they are slower and 20.4 per cent said that the level of work is the same throughout the year.

About a third (32.8 per cent) of the respondents across the region tend to work longer, while only a small portion (16.5 per cent) leave work earlier.

In terms of flexibility  23.1 per cent said their employer sometimes give them a flexible schedule, while over a third (34.5 per cent) claimed they don’t have flexible working hours during the summer.

To find out which industries are still hiring today, click here.