A good time to be networking and finding out when the next big tech recruitment wave is landing. Image Credit: GN Archive

Dubai: Do you have specialised skills in AI solutions? Then, consider yourself hired.

While UAE’s tech sector is closing out another strong year for recruitments, the AI-related hiring is only getting started in earnest. HR consultancies talk about companies being in constant touch for suitable tech candidates with some track record in AI development.

Government entities and the biggest UAE companies are taking in most of the new hires, and even actively recruiting from early-stage companies if they find there is a candidate with the required skills.

“Because government entities and corporates are packing their tech teams with AI capabilities, the salary and incentives have also seen significant rises in these 12-18 months,” said a consultant, who these days is focusing only on identifying candidates for tech or digital banking jobs.

What sort of starting salaries are up for grabs?
UAE’s tech sector salaries and incentives had been on an upward trajectory for 3 years now, and there’s still more coming. Even entry-level positions for a much in-demand job profile have felt the push of wage inflation.

“At most times, there is still a shortage of digital skillset talent in the UAE where an entry level role can now be offered Dh22,000 to Dh25,000 a month,” said Vijay Gandhi of Korn Ferry.

“Organisations are indeed actively seeking these skills for entry-level roles as automation and technology changes the way they are delivering service to their end consumers.”

Tech hiring spree

This is the third straight year that hiring in the UAE and Gulf technology sector has been running strong. At the start of the year, there had been some doubts about whether the pace of recruitment of 2021-22 could be sustained. Many businesses – at least the big ones - were in the late stages of heavy capex on their tech investments. Which also meant, they had done their recruitments too.

Then the AI-led momentum burst through, and enterprises felt this was one trend they could not afford to be slow in adopting. That was the cue for more hiring to start, and which is why 2023 will close on a high for tech jobs.

We see now tech-specific skills being in demand in retail and the (UAE/Gulf) healthcare sector. Also, more top educational institutions have openings for data science and AI instructors to teach the next generation of professionals.

- Vijay Gandhi, Regional Director at Korn Ferry Digital

A few more years of rapid hiring?

According to market feedback, the demand for AI-skilled professionals is happening at the big and top-tier enterprises. At the startup/early stage company level, it’s a given that the founders, other key stakeholders will bring their own talent – primarily on the tech side – to the operations.

It’s the middle tier organisations where the pressure will be felt the most in finding tech professionals with sufficient track record and cutting-edge credentials. “They will need someone more than system integrators.

“When AI is talked about, organisations need those who can look to the big picture needs. That's when the recruiting starts to get serious.

"This is one trend that's going to last a few more years - AI is only getting started."

There is so much general buzz on AI and Machine Learning and a plethora of techies claiming to know their stuff. Finding the right fit is a process of trial and error.

- Pranav Chaudhary, founder of Sagata
Putting together a startup in Dubai
Getting the right personnel support with people on the same wavelength is a challenge.

There is so much general buzz on AI and Machine Learning and a plethora of techies claiming to know their stuff. Finding the right fit is a process of trial and error.

We are living in times that are conducive to the startup eco-system. If one has the big idea and the wherewithal to translate it into a real-time model, there is support from government, VCs and angel investors.

- Pranav Chaudhary, founder of Sagata, a startup providing Machine Learning and consultancy services.