Dubai: Professionals in the UAE and the rest of the Middle East who are looking to change jobs can expect to land new roles this year, provided they are highly skilled and have qualifications and experience in certain industries. Being able to speak Arabic and having information technology (IT) skills are also an added advantage.
These are just some of the findings released by recruitment specialist Robert Walters in its latest Salary Survey 2018. According to the firm, the region’s hiring conditions will remain challenging this year, but there will continue to be opportunities for candidates across various fields, including accounting and finance, banking and financial services, information technology, legal and sales.
Candidates who are experts in taxation, accounting, enterprise resource planning (ERP) and mergers and acquisitions will have bigger chances than some applicants as well. And with nationalisation programmes being a priority, Emiratis and Saudis can also find opportunities, especially if they have worked overseas and know how local businesses operate.
“Despite 2017 being a challenging year, there is an atmosphere of cautious optimism and we anticipate highly skilled professionals will be able to find lucrative opportunities in 2018,” noted Jason Grundy, country head for Middle East at Robert Walters.
Accountants, finance profesionals
For accounting and finance professionals, there will be hiring for junior and mid-level roles across a wide range of sectors. Tax specialists and qualified accountants with ERP knowledge will continue to be in demand, as well as those who can speak Arabic.
Firms who will be on the lookout for these candidates are likely to be those in the construction industry, real estate and manufacturing. It may also be a good idea to monitor vacancies in oil, gas and retail sectors.
“It is possible that the oil, gas and retail sectors will also experience an increase in hiring, generating demand for finance professionals,” according to the report.
Are you tech-savvy?
Among candidates within the information technology field, the outlook looks good as well, and this is partly because companies prepare for Dubai’s hosting of the World Expo in 2020, and organisations are encouraged to undergo a digital transformation.
“Organisations across the region increasingly came to regard IT as an integral part of the business which could add significant value, creating high levels of demand for technology professionals,” the report said.
Demand for IT professionals will only grow this year as the region “embraces technology, with major digital transformation and infrastructure projects, as well as preparations for Expo 2020.”
If you’re a legal professional, opportunities can open up this year, particularly in large organisations. Robert Walters, however, cautioned that some of the “highest quality candidates” may be tempted to relocate from the region due to the “flat economy, introduction of VAT and relatively stagnant salaries.”
“This will create an even higher demand for top-tier professionals who join the likes of the Magic Circle firms. Candidates are likely to take a shrewd approach to changing roles in 2018, preferring law firms with a strong pipeline of work rather than a riskier role with a higher salary.”
For marketing and retail professionals, the outlook for the year is positive. Companies in the industry are now more bullish than the past year and are looking to expand their workforce.
“While the overall candidate pool will remain large, professionals with in-demand skills and experience are still challenging to source, particularly at the senior level. Professionals who can combine digital strategy skills with fluency in Arabic will be highly sought after.”
Those working in sales won’t despair as well, although vacancies have been relatively slow to open up.
“For candidates with strong regional experience and an outstanding track record, select opportunities are still available,” the report said.