Dubai: Jobseekers in the UAE are demanding higher pay to offset Value Added Tax (VAT), a new survey revealed on Wednesday.

More than half (56 per cent) of recruiters and human resource professionals in the UAE have experienced candidates demanding above average salaries since the roll-out of VAT in 2018, said the ‘Recruiter Sentiment Survey’ by LinkedIn, a global network of professionals.

“It is interesting to see that despite the introduction of VAT, the UAE job market and workforce appears to remain confident, according to the latest findings of the survey. However, the new tax does appear to be putting added pressure on businesses as candidates demand higher salaries to compensate for the increase,” said Gassan Talhouk, head of LinkedIn — UAE LinkedIn Talent Solutions.

The majority (84 per cent) of recruiters and human resource professionals in the UAE remain confident about their ability to recruit the right candidates.

The survey was done between April and December 2018 and the respondents included 300 HR professionals in the country.

Increase in hiring

VAT does not seem to have affected hiring rates, with most respondents (57 per cent) seeing an increase in hiring from April to December 2018, when compared to the same period in 2017.

The top reasons for the increase in hiring were attributed to business growth (63 per cent), availability of more suitable candidates (52 per cent) and access to relevant talent insights (51 per cent).

However, over half (55 per cent) of respondents stated that there was a greater supply of candidates than available roles.

The survey revealed that the most in-demand roles since the implementation of VAT were tax and finance executives and IT specialists, as companies geared up for VAT compliance.

According to the survey, transport, public administration and design sectors are among the hardest to find candidates for, while the hiring rates in IT, food and beverage and hospitality industries have peaked since the start of 2018.

AI effect

Survey respondents expect AI will have a significant impact on the future of work in the UAE. The survey revealed that 68 per cent of recruiters and HR professionals believe that AI will particularly affect jobs in finance, health care and transport and storage industries.

At the same time, half of recruiters and HR professionals (51 per cent) agree that AI will also grow employment opportunities in the UAE and the wider region, yet lower availability of entry to mid-level jobs are anticipated by 46 per cent of respondents due to increased automation of work processes.