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Recruitment firms said in many cases, employers are either rejecting profiles or offering lower salaries because of lacking skills Image Credit: Stock image. For illustrative purpose only

Dubai: Call it coincidence or a response to the challenging times amid the pandemic, jobseekers in the UAE are increasingly scouting for opportunities outside their traditional fields of work, changing the job market dynamics, employment services and HR professionals have said.

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While some candidates in this widening pool of talent are willing to settle for any role at any salary in order to stay afloat, others are keen to reskill themselves to be able to cut through the clutter. And as online courses to upgrade skills see a huge uptake, the changing scenario has also resulted in an unlikely boom of freelancers, recruiters said.

Will any job do?

Aws Ismail, general manager of recruitment firm Marc Ellis, said, “We have seen a higher number of applicants from different sectors asking us for jobs in any industry or field. The candidates that used to apply for jobs in relation to their experience are now also open to considering any opportunity from any employer that would take them to avoid being out of work for too long.”

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Candidates who once applied for jobs in relation to their experience are now also open to considering any opportunity Image Credit: Stock image. For illustrative purpose only

He said in many cases, employers are either rejecting their profiles or offering lower salaries on the basis they are not skilled for the role.

“The most common jobs where people without relevant skillsets are being hired is in hospitality. This trend has only been noticed from lesser skilled candidates. Unfortunately, the problem with this is that employers do not usually want to hire anyone that isn’t fitting the requirements needed for the job, and so it is very difficult for those candidates to secure the jobs they are applying for.”

He said the Marc Ellis Training Academy has noticed an increase in participants who are keen to reskill or upskill themselves within the demands of the current market, most specifically in the digital space, like Robotics Process Automation (RPA), Data Science and Scrum.

What are the sectors in demand?

According to LinkedIn, the trend is reflective of a global phenomenon. Ali Matar, head of LinkedIn EMEA Emerging Markets, Middle East & Africa, told Gulf News, “Job markets across the world were among the strongest indicators of the repercussions of the global pandemic crisis. The recreation, hospitality and travel sectors have been hit harder than others, forcing professionals in these fields to change direction in their careers.”

He said according to LinkedIn data that measured the likelihood of our members looking for jobs outside their sector, professionals in the recreation and travel industries were five times more likely to apply for a job outside their field during the last 12 months. In the retail sector, people were 2.1 times more likely to apply for a job in a sector different than their own, as a high percentage of retailers faced high losses during the crisis.” He said there has been a huge uptake for LinkedIn’s 16,000 courses on in-demand skills.

“We also recently made a global announcement with Microsoft to help reskill 25 million people who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19. Through this initiative, we hope to help accelerate economic recovery by equipping those hardest hit with the digital skills the post-pandemic job market requires. For companies looking to hire, reaching out to employees in these industries may be a good idea, as they tend to be more available than those in other sectors, and are more likely to be actively looking for work. This could also be a good opportunity to diversify work teams with people who have different backgrounds and skills — not just those with experience in your industry.”

Are there takers for freelancers?

The shifting industry hiring patterns and underlying changes to the way companies work have redefined roles during the COVID-19 crisis.

As Shirin Khan, Manager-PEO Services, Nathan & Nathan Human Resources, said, “In today’s COVID-19 ridden world, when uncertainty is at its peak, we must embrace the change and acknowledge the new realities. Our learnings from the pandemic, from remote working to putting forth our finest technological fronts, have taught us a way to work without hampering our healthy life balance.

Shirin Khan

Shirin Khan

“While most of us may be looking for new jobs out of necessity, the COVID-19 predicament is also an opportune time to take a peek into the remote work positions and freelance gigs . This change in the environment requires us to be prepared for a job that is completely out of our forte or shift to an entirely new career path.”

Career change

Speaking of a career change, she said, “How many times have we found ourselves say what if I was destined to be a fitness trainer, or an influencer? Perhaps even a writer. We are all guilty of having thoughts of such a sudden career shift. What if I were to tell you that a thought that would have ordinarily been painted as too risky is providing a much more promising path than the conventional yet mundane job-seeking route in the time of this crisis?”

She said with a weak ongoing job market, being a freelancing individual is a “ray of sunshine”. “Given the current situation, an individual who is on the path of freelancing can find freedom in working as a freelancer on their own or to work on a temporary contract basis and fulfill short term project based work with various companies

Employers value a freelancer for their individualised work, they prefer hiring such experts because the inputs-required in training, facilitation and other usual benefits- are greatly reduced while the outputs are only increased,” she added.

She said according to a survey, 64 per cent of firms are currently relying on collaborations with freelancers and are continually looking for them as they have proven to produce better returns, both in terms of efficiency and productivity. “While this pandemic has had a catastrophic effect on our lives, it has also given us a very important thing which is time, time to think, to research and rediscover ourselves.”

Why reskill? What are residents saying?

Shital Somaiya: A Future with Artifical Intelligence

Shital Somaiya

Shital Somaiya

“COVID-19 is making people do dfferent things. I am essentially an engineer and a sales guy in the oild and gas industry. I realise the industry is changing rapidly and it can be very unnerving. I am saying that despite being 50 and having 20 years of experience. So I began to look at what I could do – Artifical Intelligence Data seemed like a good subject to learn as it would prepare me for the future. I took up a six month course to reskill myself – and I am glad to say I have already completed three months. Thankfully, I have not lost my job.”

Vishal Kaslay: From e-recruitments to training

Vishal Kaslay

Vishal Kaslay

“I have over 19 years of Enterprise Sales experience. In my last capacity as Head of Sales at a private company, I was made redundant. I was looking at sales jobs that fit my experience but was finding it very tough. I found an opportunity as a business manager, which was completely different to what I was doing previously but accepted it since my choices were limited and the company seemed great. I was happy to have made the right transition from e-recruitments into training.”

Koshin Saleh: The sky is the limit

Koshin Saleh

Koshin Saleh

“I have been a resident of Dubai for over six years and this is my first time experiencing any difficulty or challenge. I work in the airline industry and in June, I was made redundant due to COVID-19. Since then, I have been looking for all types of roles in various industries to seek an income to sustain a living. I’ve been open to starting a new career outside of the airline industry. I’m very excited to see what my next path entails.”

Lathiffa Shifana Najimudeen: Taking the right step

Lathiffa Shifana Najimudeen

Lathiffa Shifana Najimudeen

“I am a Software Engineer who landed in the UAE with my husband and a toddler, while everything around my family life was set. I had the urge to be an independent working woman. I took up a course in RPA and got myself certified. I believe I have taken the right step to relaunch my career and eventually become a successful professional.”

Maneshveni VN: Set for an exciting new career

Maneshveni VN

Maneshveni VN

“As a Software Quality Assurance Analyst who has predominantly worked on repetitive tasks, I realised the importance of automation and the need to upskill myself. But then came the big question: What to learn? I accidentally started reading an article on RPA. I found my five-weekend-long course very interesting and informative. I am all set for an exciting career path ahead.”