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Dubai: The year 2012 might just be a good year for jobseekers after all, as a majority of companies in the UAE are expected to hire more staff in the next 12 months, a leading executive recruiter told Gulf News.

According to Gulf Recruitment Group, 93 per cent of employers anticipate increasing their head count next year, although they will be recruiting cautiously in the first three months.

The bright job prospects are seen in the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), construction, pharmaceutical and insurance sectors. The investment banking industry is expected to maintain the same level of employment as previous year, but opportunities in the corporate and retail banking sector are expected to be more challenging.

"Our market review suggests it will be a good start to the year when it comes to hiring in the UAE," said Mark Timms, director of Gulf Recruitment Group.

The company said organisations, including multinational and local firms, are optimistic about doing business next year and have expressed plans to improve their recruitment strategies.

Openings

The construction sector is likely to see significant uptake in manpower demand in the first two quarters of 2012, with 17 per cent of firms reviewed having recruitment plan in place for next year.

Positions up for grabs in the sector will include project management and engineering.

In the insurance market, there will be openings in sales and revenue-generating posts. There will also be opportunities for qualified underwriters in more diverse insurance segments, as well as positions in compliance, finance, risk and capital management.

"It's very clear that the UAE economy is picking up in various sectors and with significant regional projects being announced, much of the expertise for these projects is being sourced from the UAE.

Competition

"We are already seeing situations where companies are competing for talent, and generally I believe we can expect for growth in demand and supply," said Richard Turner, chief executive officer, Ecolog Development and Engineering.

As to why the other sectors, such as retail banking, don't look as promising, Timms says the outlook for the financial services industry in 2012 remains uncertain.

Business confidence

"No one really knows. Paradoxically, business confidence in general seems to be on an upward trend, but this really has not yet positively affected the activity on the markets, nor the ability of major private equity or asset management firms to raise capital," he told Gulf News.

"The banks have been lending in 2011 at a much better rate than before, which does have a positive effect on business growth, but with uncertainty over Europe and issues in both China and India, the outlook for interbank credit liquidity in 2012 is perhaps poor. The big if, is whether high net worth individuals and leading GCC institutions will put their hands in their pockets again and put money back into investment arena which will spur asset management, private equity and the regional economy as a whole."