The technology sector will dominate demand for new hires this year while a sharp increase in hiring is expected in well-established industries such as health care, pharmaceuticals, human resources, sales, retail, finance and oil and gas.
“Software developers will be one of the most sought-after skills categories, ranging from state-of-the-art virtual and augmented reality to gamification, cryptocurrency, digital education and telemedicine,” says Deepa Sud, chief executive of Plum Jobs, a Dubai recruitment and leadership skills consultancy.
“Each of these sectors will boom as our work and personal dynamics change with hybrid working becoming more of the norm.”
The jobs market in the UAE, the second-largest Arab economy, has made a strong recovery from the coronavirus-induced slowdown on the back of the government’s fiscal and monetary measures.
The pick-up in economic activity and business confidence spells good news for skilled jobseekers.
“As the most in-demand jobs evolve, candidates and employees who have a robust mix of technical and soft skills will become the most sought-after,” says Ms Sud.
“As we become more reliant on technology in our everyday lives, the need for technology security increases with greater focus on applications and cloud security. Businesses are investing in risk management, threat intelligence and auditing skills as cyber attacks are becoming more common.”
Demand for professionals in cloud computing, cyber security, digital media and artificial intelligence is also expected to surge in 2022, says Richard Jackson, the chief operating officer at recruitment agency TASC Outsourcing.
“The healthcare industry will also continue to be a big employer in 2022, followed by the information technology, internet, e-commerce sectors and hospitality industry,” Mr Jackson adds.
Meanwhile, the most in-demand skills in 2022 will be a combination of technical capabilities – such as digital literacy, technology design and programming – and soft attributes, including critical thinking and analysis, design thinking and innovation.
“Many employers will also be looking for strategic skills like business strategy, strategic planning, organisational development, leadership and team management,” Mr Jackson says.
Good communication skills in both English and Arabic are also highly sought-after by UAE employers, says Ola Haddad, director of human resources at jobs portal Bayt.com.
“[This is] followed by being a team player, having good leadership skills and having the ability to work under pressure,” Ms Haddad says.
With hiring on the increase, what are the most in-demand jobs in 2022 and how much do they pay?
Read on to find out – and check out our comprehensive UAE salary guide 2022 slide show above for a snapshot of your sector.
Positions in demand: front-end developer, full stack developer, cyber security architect, cloud architect/engineer, IT project management
The demand for software development professionals is rapidly increasing as companies in the UAE continue to digitise their processes after the pandemic, the Michael Page Salary Guide 2022 report says.
“In the past, most of the demand we saw was from highly regulated sectors and software development outsourcing companies, however, recently we have seen an increase in start-ups and scale-ups looking to employ their own talent,” the report says.
“The shortage of skilled talent in this space is a growing problem globally.”
Hiring recommendation: “Where possible, remote working and hybrid models should be explored, while traditional compensation and benefits packages must also be reviewed to ensure employees are receiving attractive, yet fair, incentives,” the Michael Page report says.
- Front-end developer: Dh12,000 – Dh22,000
- Full stack developer: Dh20,000 – Dh35,000
- Cyber security architect: Dh35,000 – Dh60,000
- Cloud architect/engineer: Dh25,000 – Dh60,000
- IT project management: Dh20,000 – Dh55,000
Healthcare and life sciences
Positions in demand: nurse, laboratory technician, doctor, regional sales manager, marketing manager
The pandemic has driven demand for medical and laboratory roles since 2020, with healthcare organisations forced to change their operations rapidly to address an increase in patients and testing, the Michael Page report says.
“Many companies are looking to hire in large volumes, which presents a challenge to find licensed professionals with UAE experience or people who can become licensed in the UAE quickly,” it adds.
Hiring recommendation: “Healthcare professionals will also be highly sought-after, so organisations need to ensure they have competitive salaries, benefits and a stable onboarding programme to ensure they are able to attract and, more importantly, retain employees,” the Michael Page report advises.
- Nurse: Dh6,000 – Dh15,000
- Laboratory technician: Dh8,000 – Dh15,000
- Doctor (consultant): Dh60,000 – Dh160,000
- Regional sales manager (life sciences): Dh30,000 – Dh55,000
- Marketing manager (life sciences): Dh30,000 – Dh50,000
Positions in demand: trainer, store manager, marketer with e-commerce experience, buyer for online channels, sales staff
Online shopping took hold in 2020 after governments around the world introduced movement restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid-19. However, more physical retail stores are expected to open in the UAE in 2022, leading to more jobs, a Robert Half report says.
“Businesses will continue their evolution towards moving online … while also managing their brick-and-mortar investments as having a physical presence is still extremely relevant in the Middle East and this is evident with multiple online brands opening physical stores in the region.”
Hiring recommendation: “Businesses need to invest in training their key functions to maintain a balance between the online and offline world, as well as investing in structures that support a well-established omnichannel experience,” Robert Half says.
- Trainer: Dh15,000 – Dh30,000
- Store manager: Dh15,000 – Dh25,000
- Marketing manager: Dh25,000 – Dh45,000
- Buying manager: Dh27,000 – Dh40,000
- Sales staff: Dh5,000 – Dh15,000
Positions in demand: talent acquisition and recruitment manager, regional HR manager, talent and performance management specialist
The demand for human resources and recruiting specialists in 2022 is “unprecedented” and driven by the trend towards creating an engaged workforce across the new hybrid working models, the Robert Half report says.
Start-ups are also looking to create HR departments, which means that candidates with experience in building an HR function from scratch will be in demand, the report says.
“[There is] a bigger emphasis on launching employee well-being initiatives, especially around mental health support and work-life balance,” it adds.
“This is often led by HR and examples of creative initiatives are sought out by employers when reviewing CVs of candidates.”
Hiring recommendation: “Focus your CV on quantifiable and qualitative achievements related to employee engagement, workplace culture and performance management,” the report advises.
- Talent acquisition manager: Dh30,000 – Dh40,000
- Regional HR manager: Dh33,000 – Dh48,000
- Talent and performance management specialist: Dh20,000 – Dh28,000
Oil and gas
Positions in demand: operations manager, project manager, commissioning/decommissioning manager, logistics manager, estimating/cost manager
The oil and gas sector’s shift in focus to reducing greenhouse gas emissions has resulted in many companies investing in new technology, including cloud-based data platforms and AI machine learning to boost productivity.
“As the UAE has committed to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, the energy sector will transition to green energies and we will see an increase in process engineers and technology specialists,” says Ms Sud of Plum Jobs.
However, the industry is facing recruitment challenges, particularly with fresh talent, says the Robert Half salary report.
“Oil and gas companies are looking for employees who have a wide range of skills and backgrounds to help them become more differentiated as new business strategies and new innovations emerge,” it says.
Hiring recommendation: “Organisations should recognise that innovation and digital transformation will be critical to increasing efficiency and accelerating sustainability, and can be used as key employer branding pillars to attract and retain talent,” the report says.
- Operations manager: Dh40,000 – Dh50,000
- Project manager: Dh32,000 – Dh45,000
- Commissioning/decommissioning manager: Dh28,000 – Dh40,000
- Logistics manager: Dh20,000 – Dh35,000
- Estimating/cost manager: Dh30,000 – Dh42,000