Dubai:  While job cuts, oil price declines and shrinking revenues ruled the headlines over the past few weeks, companies in the UAE are still hiring new employees. In fact, job postings have not really “registered a shock”, according to one recruitment specialist.

“There are still many employment opportunities available in the UAE and in the Middle East and North Africa today, and there will be more to come in 2016,” said Suhail Masri, vice president of sales for

The job website recently polled companies in the UAE to find out more about their hiring plans. About a third (31 per cent) of the employers said they will “definitely be hiring” and 41 per cent will “probably be hiring”.

A key driver for job opportunities next year, according to Masri, will be the Expo 2020 in Dubai, as it involves building a number of infrastructure projects and properties around the emirate.

HR and executive assistants

“[The Expo] will lead to an increase in the number of building developments undertaken in the country in order to create the appropriate infrastructure, as well as create jobs in the tourism sector,” said Masri.

“This growth will certainly trickle down to other industries, too.”

Based on the employers’ responses in the Job Index Survey, Masri said there will be job opportunities for human resource professionals and executive assistants next year.

The second-most popular positions will be sales managers, followed by accountants and receptionists.

A significant number of companies (37 per cent) said they are mostly on the lookout for candidates with “mid-level experience”, while almost one-third of them are seeking to hire professionals with managerial skills.

Jobseekers with planning, organizing, scheduling and other office administration experience also have good chances of landing a new position, with 31 per cent of the respondents saying they are looking for candidates with administrative skills.

A good number (27 per cent) of companies are also looking for marketing professionals, as well as those with computer skills (25 per cent).

“For candidate qualifications, a graduate/post graduate degree in business management is the most sought-after academic qualification when looking for candidates in the UAE,” Masri told Gulf News.

“This is followed by a degree in commerce and engineering.”

When it comes to specific skills they’re looking for, many companies in the UAE prefer those who are team players. Good communication skills in Arabic and English, as well as good leadership skills, are also highly sought after, according to Masri.

“Professionals need to keep in mind that the nature of the jobs needed in the future will also vary: new upcoming projects like smart cities are creating skills gaps because the skills required are new skills that are not taught in the majority of universities and that not many people have much experience in.”

As of November, the most in-demand in the UAE are professionals with qualifications and experience in sales and business development (BD), health care and HR and administration, according to a separate analysis by

Hiring for sales and business development positions increased by 45 per cent year-on-year, while recruitment for healthcare roles went up by 37 per cent, and HR and administration by 27 per cent.

According to, the following are the latest hiring trends in the UAE:

Top Growth Industries (Year-on-year growth in hiring):

1. Healthcare (60%)

2. Retail/Trade and Logistics (55%)

3. IT and Telecom/ISP (49%)

Lowest Growth Industries:

1. Production/Manufacturing, Automotive and Ancillary (1%)

2. Hospitality ( -5%)

3. Oil and Gas ( -24%)