UAE hiring rate briefly returns to pre-pandemic levels, LinkedIn says

The social media platform's data shows pockets of hiring growth, with 14 million jobs available on the network globally, especially in healthcare and technology

The UAE's hiring rate briefly hit pre-pandemic levels in October, rising 9.5 per cent year-on-year within the global average of 9 to 10 per cent, as movement restrictions eased and companies began a phased return to offices, LinkedIn said.

"We have not gone back to the same point as the pre-pandemic," Ali Matar Head of LinkedIn EMEA Emerging Markets, Middle East & Africa, said in an interview. "The conclusion is that we are heading in the right direction, things seem to be optimistic and companies are going back to posting jobs and hiring people."

Progress, he said, depends on the resurgence or containment of the virus. That echoes to a large extent the trend globally. China's economy has rebounded to growth after it managed to contain the pandemic.

The decline in economic activity due to the coronavirus has massively affected the world’s labour market. Compared with the last three months of 2019, the global decline in work hours during the second quarter is equal to the loss of 400 million full-time jobs, the fund said, according to the International Labour Organisation.

LinkedIn data indicates countries that avoid shutting down their economies do not see an improved hiring trend in the long run, according to a report it released on Tuesday.

Sweden and Brazil, who have avoided economic lockdowns, have seen a severe drop in hiring. In contrast, Canada and France have implemented restrictions and seen more consistent growth in hiring.
"The key to recovery is containing the virus," Mr Matar said, citing China as an example.

Despite the resurgence of Covid infections globally and countries going into second lockdowns, there are pockets of hiring growth. LinkedIn has 14 million jobs available worldwide on its platform, particularly in healthcare and technology roles, the data shows.

It identified 10 jobs that are expected to continue to be in high demand by employers in the future including digital marketers, data analysts, software developers and financial analysts.

Digital skills in particular are in demand. LinkedIn projects that the technology sector will add 150 million jobs globally in the next five years.

Resilient industries such as tech, e-commerce, and healthcare are continuing to hire during the pandemic, Mr Matar said. Job applicants that combine tech skills with an understanding of business are increasingly in demand, he said.

LinkedIn rolled out its Career Explorer dashboard, an interactive tool created to help people find jobs that match their skills, it said on Tuesday.

Job seekers can see how their skills can lead them to new career opportunities, what additional skills they may need, along with LinkedIn learning courses that can help fill those gaps.

LinkedIn also launched the Open to Work feature, which jobseekers can use to tell employers they're looking for new opportunities. These users receive on average 40 per cent more InMails from recruiters and are 20 per cent more likely to receive messages from the broader LinkedIn community, according to the report.

To gain new skills ad those sought by employers, people can access nearly 1,000 hours of free learning courses from Microsoft and LinkedIn. More than 13 million people beefed up their digital skills through these online courses.

Public-private sector cooperation, backing the growth of small-and-medium-enterprises, learning new skills and containing the virus are key to raising and sustaining hiring rates, Mr Matar said.

Over the last 10 months the pandemic accelerated digitisation plans of companies, shifted advertising spending to digital platforms and normalised work from home, he said.

With the pandemic accelerating demand for roles in male-dominated tech industry, women must invest more time in developing technical skills, he said.

The pandemic will continue to accelerate the uptake of technology and the need to develop new skills, Mr Matar said.

"We've seen people losing hope – its ok to be tired, to get fatigue, to have ups and downs – but at the end of the day hope is there, things are picking up, and growth rates are coming back," Mr Matar said.