Recruitment companies have topped a list of the UAE's least trustworthy advisers for the second year running, an annual survey by market research consultancy Insight Discovery found.
Twenty-five per cent of UAE residents perceive recruitment companies as having the worst reputation, said researchers who polled more than 1,016 people in the Emirates.
Meanwhile, 20 per cent of residents said credit card issuers were untrustworthy, 18 per cent flagged call centres, 12 per cent cited property companies and 10 per cent said independent financial advisers had poor reputations, the research found.
“The past 12 months have been exceptionally challenging in lots of ways, especially in relation to job security for many individuals across all types of sectors,” Nigel Sillitoe, chief executive of Insight Discovery, said on Wednesday.
“Recruiters don’t seem to have responded by showing the right professional support or guidance for candidates who need it.”
The jobs market in the UAE, the second-largest Arab economy, has recovered strongly from the pandemic-induced slowdown on the back of the government’s fiscal and monetary measures.
Sectors in the UAE with the highest recovery in hiring levels include health care, software and information technology, all of which saw recruitment pick up after the immediate onset of the pandemic, a LinkedIn report said.
The lack of trust in recruiters has continued from last year’s Insight Discovery poll, placing them first again in 2022. In the 2020 survey, recruitment companies were placed second, behind credit card issuers, Insight Discovery said.
Recruiters are also the least trusted among the 25 to 44 age group and least respected by people across every income group, the survey found.
“While most people’s criticism of recruiters assumes they mean external recruiters or agencies … the vast majority of recruiters since the rise of LinkedIn are, in fact, internal, focused on talent acquisition. There are, of course, some highly professional recruiters but too many are ineffective,” Mr Sillitoe said.
Recruiters can improve their standing by acting in a transparent way, UAE residents said in the survey.
“They need to be responsive and give clear guidance to individuals who are looking for a new job, or perhaps even a change of career,” Mr Sillitoe said.
Jobseekers who plan to use a recruitment company should only use ones that have good reputations, David Mackenzie, group managing director of recruitment agency Mackenzie Jones, told The National.
“There are lots of very bad recruiters in this region. If you are going to use a recruitment company, always use a reputed one and ask friends for their view.”
Recruiters typically do not respond to candidates who have applied for a job, Mr Mackenzie said.
“The pre- and post-sales after placing a candidate for a client is very bad. A lot of recruiters come here for the lifestyle, work for a year and then move on, rather than focus on their career,” he added.
“There is also a situation unique to the Middle East where most job adverts see between 1,000 to 4,000 candidates applying, most of whom have no relevance to the role. So, it’s not easy for us to find a good candidate.”
Financial advisers must stop cold calling to improve their reputation among people in the Emirates, the research found.
“While less prevalent than in the past, this annoying and antiquated practice still goes with one or two IFA firms being guilty parties,” Mr Sillitoe said.
Unregulated companies must also stop making outrageous return claims as “they are misleading investors and tarnishing the good work done by so many IFAs in the region”, he said.
The UAE Insurance Authority’s regulations on life and family takaful insurance, which were implemented in 2020, are aimed at reducing mis-selling of life insurance products and increasing policyholder confidence in the market. As part of the regulations, the IA capped the overall commission payable on a policy over its entire course and increased disclosure requirements for financial advisers.