Niche roles in the UAE's support staff sector are attracting record-high salaries in 2022 as business confidence and hiring activity return to pre-coronavirus levels, with some employers offering wages up to 95 per cent higher compared with a year ago, according to Tiger Recruitment.
Demand is particularly strong for office managers, who are being offered up to 95 per cent more and can earn between Dh12,000 and Dh35,000 a month depending on the sector, the recruitment specialist said in a report on Wednesday.
“At the start of the pandemic, we saw large numbers of foreign workers return to their home countries. They are starting to come back again but not quickly enough to fill the growing number of roles available,” said Zahra Clark, head of the Mena division at Tiger Recruitment.
“Forward-thinking employers now recognise that if they want to attract and retain high-calibre candidates in such a competitive market, they need to be prepared to pay a premium.”
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.
Experienced lifestyle managers, chiefs of staff and private chefs are among the most sought-after business support roles in the region, the Tiger Recruitment report found.
At the top end of the scale, some private households are paying up to 40 per cent more to secure lifestyle managers, while family offices have raised salaries by 80 per cent, it said.
Salary remains the most important factor for companies to attract talent and is the number one priority for jobseekers searching for new roles, the Tiger Recruitment report said.
Flexible working is the second benefit of choice for UAE jobseekers, with many candidates turning down roles that require them to be in the office full-time, the report found.
“I expect the current talent shortage to ease over the next 12 months, allowing the market to stabilise. But for now, candidates have the upper hand,” according to Ms Clark.
Businesses need to rethink their benefit packages to attract the best talent, according to the report.
“There is a growing realisation that employers need to offer personalised benefits to attract the best talent,” Ms Clark said.
“We have seen employers step up and introduce benefits related to mental health and well-being but it is flexible working that is the most in demand.”
Some of the mental health benefits currently offered by UAE employers include access to counselling services and wellness initiatives. Other examples of innovative work benefits include paid childcare during lockdown and an annual work-from-home stipend, according to the report.