What are the most in-demand jobs in the UAE and Saudi Arabia?

Technology skills continue to dominate job postings as companies focus on digital strategies, LinkedIn says

The fastest-growing jobs in the UAE and Saudi Arabia can be found in the technology, sales, environmental and HR sectors. Getty
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The most in-demand jobs in the UAE and Saudi Arabia in 2023 will again be dominated by the technology sector, as companies continue their post-coronavirus pandemic digital transformations, according to figures compiled by LinkedIn.

Employers are seeking advanced skills such as programming languages and cyber security in response to a growing emphasis on data and automation in the region, the world’s largest professional network said on Wednesday.

“This focus on tech infrastructure has been further strengthened by the digital strategy goals of the two Gulf states,” Microsoft-owned LinkedIn said in its Jobs on the Rise for 2023 report.

The positive hiring trend is in contrast to the global mass layoffs and hiring freezes in the sector by companies such as Amazon, Facebook parent Meta Platforms, Twitter, Spotify and Intel, resulting in more than 154,000 workers being laid off in 2022 alone, according to layoffs.fyi, which has been tracking technology sector job losses since the beginning of the pandemic.

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

The UAE, the Arab world’s second-largest economy, has introduced a number of 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.

It has also introduced an unemployment insurance scheme, which came into effect on January 1.

Watch: What is the UAE’s unemployment insurance scheme and how does it work?

What is the UAE’s unemployment insurance scheme and how does it work?

What is the UAE’s unemployment insurance scheme and how does it work?

The jobs market in the UAE is expected to continue to strengthen in 2023, driven by strong market confidence and foreign direct investment as companies expand their international presence in the Emirates, recruitment specialist Michael Page said in a report in November.

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

Meanwhile, hiring in Saudi Arabia’s non-oil sector in December increased at its fastest pace since 2018, driven by “robust” business activity, according to the Riyad Bank Saudi Arabia purchasing managers’ index.

About 40 per cent of the top 10 roles in Saudi Arabia, the Arab world's biggest economy, were related to cyber security, data analysis and software development, the LinkedIn data showed.

In the UAE, demand for developers also increased, with 30 per cent of the top 10 jobs being for software development roles.

Other in-demand roles in the two countries include sales representatives, environmental managers and HR specialists, as companies expand their revenue models and intensify efforts to attract the best talent, it added.

Demand for remote and flexible job roles is also on the rise in the GCC, particularly in the UAE, the LinkedIn data showed.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, employees have been leaving their jobs at much higher rates than normal, in what has been called The Great Resignation, as they seek better work-life balances and more flexibility with their jobs.

The UAE has also emerged as a hotspot for remote cross-border hiring, with companies in Canada, the US, the UK and Israel tapping into a “pool of high-quality jobseekers” looking for full-time remote positions, payroll and remote onboarding company Deel said in its State of Global Hiring Report 2022 in August.

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In December, remote job postings in the UAE grew 27.7 per cent on a monthly basis, according to LinkedIn.

This is one of the highest growth rates in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, with remote job postings now in negative territory in markets such as the UK (-1.6 per cent), Germany (-10.5 per cent) and France (-21.6 per cent), LinkedIn said.

Updated: January 18, 2023, 7:09 AM