What is the outlook for UAE jobs in 2023?

The employment market in the Emirates is expected to continue strengthening next year as companies invest in attracting top talent, a new report finds

The UAE's jobs market is expected to remain strong in 2023, according to a new report by recruitment consultancy Michael Page. Getty
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The jobs market in the UAE will continue to strengthen in 2023, driven by strong market confidence and foreign direct investment as companies expand their international presence in the Emirates, according to a new report by recruitment specialist Michael Page.

After an unpredictable 2022, strong market confidence has led to consistent recruitment activity and industry growth, Michael Page said in its 2023 UAE Salary Guide and Hiring Insights report on Monday.

“Based on market confidence and therefore more aggressive growth and diversification plans, organisations shifted up a gear and their appetite to invest in attracting top talent increased significantly,” Jon Ede, regional director of Michael Page UAE, said.

Watch: Some of the stats behind the UAE's hiring boom

Some of the stats behind the UAE's hiring boom

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, FEB 24, 2016. Jason Leavy, MD of Edelman Dabo. Photo: Reem Mohammed / The National (Reporter: Frank Kane /Section: BZ) Job ID: 27616 *** Local Caption ***  RM_20160224_JASONLEAVY_004.JPG

“We have also seen a significant return to foreign investments with businesses looking to expand their international footprint into the UAE.”

The UAE jobs market has made a strong recovery from the coronavirus-induced slowdown, helped by the government’s fiscal and monetary measures.

The UAE, the Arab world’s second-largest economy, has undertaken several economic, legal and social reforms over the years to strengthen its business environment, increase foreign direct investment, attract skilled workers with new visas and provide incentives to companies to set up or expand their operations.

Earlier this month, recruitment consultancy Robert Half said employees in the UAE’s financial services and legal sectors will receive the highest salary increases in 2023, with an average rise of 5 per cent and 4.9 per cent, respectively.

This is followed by the technology industry, which is expected to record a 3 per cent salary increase on average, while finance and accounting professionals will receive a 2.5 per cent wage rise and the HR sector is set for a 2 per cent increase, Robert Half said in its 2023 Salary Guide.

A separate survey conducted by Bayt.com and YouGov in October found that 86 per cent of working professionals in the UAE have a positive career outlook for 2023.

However, the concept of remote working continues to be a long-term legacy of the Covid pandemic, said the Michael Page report, which also surveyed 2,000 employees in the UAE.

About 66 per cent of respondents said they are looking for positions with an element of working from home integrated into their role, it said.

It is important for companies in the UAE to learn to embrace a hybrid work model as it will prove to be key in attracting and safeguarding employees, it added.

“The most popular arrangement is three days at the office, two days at home, [which is] preferred by 36 per cent of respondents, Michael Page said.

“Twenty-seven per cent prefer working from home permanently, while 21 per cent like the idea of spending just one day working from home.”

Office-based teams may also benefit from greater employee engagement, with 41 per cent of respondents emphasising the importance of face-to-face meetings and 28 per cent saying they want to maintain social links and enjoy relaxing moments with colleagues, Michael Page said.

Meanwhile, 79 per cent of respondents said key topics pertaining to social and corporate governance were an important factor when selecting their dream job.

When asked to identify the most important ESG values, 96 per cent chose human rights responsibility, while environmental and economic responsibility were both highlighted by 84 per cent of respondents.

The study also found that 60 per cent of those polled would consider returning to their former company, Michael Page said.

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About 57 per cent of people said they were unaware of company return programmes, leading to the conclusion that companies need to better promote them and look at rehiring as part of their recruiting strategy, it added.

Although unavoidable outside factors may threaten to influence industry behaviours, all signs of growth and resilience seem to be pointing in the right direction for the UAE, Mr Ede said.

“A complex global economic backdrop makes it impossible for anyone to predict what lies ahead for 2023 — however, based on current demand, positivity and local market confidence, the UAE appears to be well positioned for growth and resilience,” he said.

Updated: November 28, 2022, 9:26 AM