Dubai: The employment market in the UAE looks more subdued, with the number of job opportunities listed online dropping significantly for the first time this year.

The latest Monster Employment Index (MEI), a monthly gauge of vacancies posted by employers across various career platforms and websites in the Middle East, showed that job opportunities in the country dropped by 22 per cent last month compared to the same period in 2015. The decline is the first negative growth recorded in the UAE since the beginning of the year.

The highest decline in hiring was noted in the hospitality industry, down by 38 per cent.  Opportunities remained scarce in the oil and gas sector, where job postings plunged by 33 per cent. 

Jobseekers can’t expect much recruitment going on in the banking, financial services and insurance industry, either, with listings within this sector dropping by 22 per cent.

But while the labour market still looks generally lethargic, some companies are still open to hire new staff. “Amid an uncertain employment landscape in the UAE, healthcare continues to demonstrate strong demand for professionals,” said Sanjay Modi, managing director for Asia Pacific and Middle East at

“And with ex citing plans ahead in the industry, opportunities are bound to arise across other sectors as well, including construction, technology and education which will be needed to support these initiatives,” Modi added.

There are still a number of healthcare projects that are in the pipeline and once they are completed, they are expected to generate more jobs.

“Recent developments in the field include the construction of a number of new international hospitals being built across the emirates, a $2 billion project to establish a modern medical university by 2017, and the implementation of high-tech sensors, biometric readers and even robots that are helping medical staff perform more effectively and efficiently,

The employment markets in other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, however, seemed to have improved, with Bahrain registering an 11 per cent increase in recruitment, while Kuwait and Oman each recorded a 10 per cent increase.

In Saudi Arabia, online hiring dropped by 15 per cent, while in Qatar, the decline reached 25 per cent. Egypt recorded the highest decline among the Middle East countries monitored at -34 per cent.

The Morgan McKinley UAE Employment Monitor had earlier recorded a decline in the labour market, with the number of jobs on offer dropping by 9 per cent, from 7,899 positions in the last quarter of 2015 to 7,212 in the first quarter of 2016. Compared to the same period in 2015, job offers slipped by 12 per cent.

“The general feeling is that it’s a tough market out there, but then again, it’s a tough market everywhere at the moment,” a spokesperson for the company had said.