The Covid-19 pandemic has placed the global healthcare sector under immense pressure but this has also opened up a range of employment prospects for certain segments of the industry.
The healthcare jobs currently most sought-after in the UAE include nurses, laboratory technicians and general practitioners, according to recruitment agency Hays.
UAE healthcare employers are also recruiting medical lab technologists, pharmacists, medical receptionists and infectious disease specialists, online recruitment agency Bayt.com says.
“All of these roles vary significantly with regards to the pay on offer and the different skills and experience required," says Melissa Kostler, senior business director for health care in the Gulf region at Hays.
"However, common requirements include candidates with degrees, who hold a UAE practice licence following the rules and laws of the unified healthcare professional qualification requirements and who have post-qualification experience in their relevant field.”
Salaries for workers in the UAE’s life sciences sector, which covers pharmaceuticals and health care, registered the highest increase in 2021, growing by 4.5 per cent compared with 2020, according to HR consulting company Mercer’s Total Remuneration Survey, which polled more than 500 companies.
Demand for home health care has also increased during the pandemic, Ms Kostler says. Patients are now showing a preference for receiving medical treatment within the safety of their own home, for which they are willing to pay a premium, she says.
Qualified, experienced nurses are in high demand in the UAE, especially those with intensive care unit experience, according to Dr Sirajudeen Moideen, chairman and managing director of Dr Sirajudeen Medical Group in Dubai.
“Nurses with no experience can get between Dh3,500 and Dh4,000 per month in private clinics while those with experience can get up to Dh6,000. It also depends on their field of experience. Theatre nurses can earn salaries of up to Dh12,000 in bigger hospitals,” says Dr Moideen.
Meanwhile, nurses who take up temporary jobs in Covid-19 vaccination centres can receive between Dh8,000 and Dh9,000 a month, he says.
There is high demand for qualified nurses, particularly those already in the UAE, says Ms Kostler.
Experience is important for nursing positions. Employers look for capable nurses with at least one year of experience in carrying out general health assessments, administering and evaluating patient care, she says.
“This is different from previous years, when demand was higher for more specialist nurses. Salaries of nursing staff have increased up to 50 per cent since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic,” says Ms Kostler.
The workload for many labs has dramatically increased due to Covid-19, which has boosted demand for lab technicians who collect PCR swab samples and perform tests on collected samples, according to Hays Gulf data.
Employers typically look for lab technicians with at least two years’ post-qualified experience, who are based in the region and hold a licence either from the Dubai Health Authority, the Dubai Healthcare City Authority or the Ministry of Health, says Ms Kostler.
Salaries for lab technician roles have also increased by 20 per cent to 50 per cent since the pandemic, Hays data found.
“Lab technicians can earn between Dh5,000 and Dh7,000 in a private clinic and Dh10,000 in a big hospital,” Dr Moideen says.
While some establishments have had to rethink their hiring efforts and operate on minimum resources, many critical roles are continuing at full capacity or even beyond normal levels.
General practitioners and others
The demand for general practitioners who can see patients in the comfort and safety of their homes through teleconferencing has also increased since the outbreak of Covid-19, according to recruitment experts.
“GPs are most in demand in the region, of all physician roles. This typically relates to qualified GPs with a minimum of five years’ experience, who are still learning rather than focused in a specific medical speciality,” says Ms Kostler.
Salaries for GPs have remained largely steady each year and recruitment agencies expect this to continue for the rest of 2021.
UAE salary guide 2021
GPs in a private clinic earn between Dh15,000 and Dh16,000 a month, Dr Moideen says.
Meanwhile, experienced pharmacists can expect a salary of up to Dh6,000 while experienced medical receptionists can earn between Dh4,000 and Dh5,000.
A receptionist with no experience will draw a monthly salary of Dh3,500, Dr Moideen adds.
“The most common skills required for the aforementioned jobs include in-depth knowledge of health and safety guidelines and procedures, excellent knowledge of nursing care methods and procedures, experience in a healthcare setting, [a] friendly and approachable personality, excellent communication and interpersonal skills, outstanding organisational and multitasking skills, and outstanding research and analytical skills,” says Ms Gupta from Bayt.com.
Talent needed in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries
Meanwhile, pharmaceutical and medical device clients are focusing on recruiting for commercial roles this year, according to Kinetic Business Solutions, which sources professionals for these sectors.
The most in-demand roles include country and general managers, commercial directors, medical representatives and product specialists, and sales, key account, marketing, human resource and finance managers, says Chris Atkinson, managing partner at Kinetic Business Solutions.
“Salaries vary depending on the size of the company. For example, a smaller local company may hire a key account manager for Dh20,000 a month whereas a larger global organisation would pay upwards of Dh30,000 a month,” says Mr Atkinson.
Multinationals pay country and general managers from Dh75,000 to Dh95,000 a month while commercial directors earn Dh70,000 to Dh80,000 and key account managers are paid between Dh25,000 and Dh30,000, according to Kinetic Business Solutions data.
Sales managers earn between Dh30,000 and Dh45,000 a month and marketing managers can receive a monthly salary of Dh40,000 to Dh50,000. On the other hand, HR managers are paid between Dh30,000 and Dh45,000 a month while finance managers receive from Dh35,000 to Dh50,000 a month.
Product specialists are paid between Dh18,000 and Dh23,000 and medical representatives receive Dh15,000 to Dh20,000, the data from Kinetic Business Solutions shows.
All commercial roles come with great bonus schemes on top of the usual company benefits, Mr Atkinson says.
“We are seeing two scenarios this year – pharma and medical device companies coming into the UAE market from overseas to set up regional offices and those already in the UAE launching new products, which means they require a strong sales and marketing team to ensure they hit operational targets,” he says.
The top skills sought by pharmaceutical and medical device companies include the ability to multitask and work well under pressure, adaptability and flexibility, attention to detail and communication, according to Mr Atkinson.
“Mid-level roles require at least more than three years’ experience in a similar role and with the relevant qualifications,” he says.
Most sought-after job roles in UAE health care
- General practitioner
- Lab technician
- Medical receptionist
- Infectious disease specialist