Which healthcare jobs are in demand in the UAE and how much do they pay?

Nurses, physicians and medical scientists are the most sought-after professionals, according to Michael Page

The UAE healthcare and life sciences industry is facing a shortage of specialised talent. Getty
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Nurses, physicians and medical scientists are the most sought-after professionals in the UAE’s healthcare sector, according to recruitment consultancy Michael Page.

Roles in demand in the country’s life sciences industry include those of sales representatives, regional sales managers and regional marketing managers, the recruiter’s 2023 Salary Guide says.

The healthcare and life sciences industry is facing a shortage of specialised talent locally. With demand remaining high, companies are recruiting internationally, the report says.

“The Middle East and Africa region continues to be a key growth area for companies in both the healthcare and life science industries,” the Michael Page report says.

“We are seeing a shift of headquarters into the region, as well as widespread expansion of local and international organisations. There is a growing focus on biotechnology, as well as specific healthcare specialisations due to key market trends, therefore increasing the need for niche talent.”

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 job seekers.

The majority of companies in the UAE plan to hire new employees for the remainder of the year and wages are expected to increase by slightly under 2 per cent in 2023, according to the Cooper Fitch Salary Guide 2023.

More than half of all companies (57 per cent) expect to increase salaries this year, according to the Cooper Fitch survey, which polled business leaders at 300 companies in the GCC.

About 45 per cent expect to make a zero to 5 per cent increase while 5 per cent anticipate salary rises of 6 per cent to 9 per cent, and 7 per cent intend to boost wages by more than 10 per cent over the coming 12 months, the recruitment consultancy says in the report.

Check out our comprehensive UAE salary guide 2023 slide show below for a snapshot of your sector.

Clinical research is an in-demand skill in the UAE’s healthcare and life sciences industry, according to Michael Page research.

“The UAE government is investing in research and development, which is driving the need for highly skilled technical professionals [in areas such as] microbiology, genetics, biochemistry,” it says.

“While also excelling in medical sciences, there is a need for candidates with a business acumen and/or managerial experience.”

The healthcare industry is also seeking candidates skilled in regional sales and distributor management, it says.

Profiles within the salesforce must be able to generate and close sales across a wider region.

The regional exposure requires adaptable skills to understand specific elements about the healthcare ecosystem in each region, as well as being knowledgeable about each government and its regulations, the recruitment consultancy says.

Teaming up with regional distributors or principal partners can positively affect sales, inventory and top line revenue, it adds.

Market access and pricing are other sought-after skills in the industry.

With healthcare systems becoming more complex in the region amid the presence of many stakeholders, pharmaceutical companies are looking for people who are able to communicate with authorities and insurance companies to support them in terms of pricing and reimbursements, according to Michael Page.

“The UAE government is deploying ambitious plans within the healthcare and life sciences sectors to tackle the opportunities of digital transformation by integrating disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things,” it says.

“The most in-demand talent has an innovative and technologically advanced outlook.”

The consultancy says employers need to be agile if they want to hire strong talent from local or international markets.

In the context of a talent shortage, companies must also offer competitive salaries and benefits, a stable onboarding programme and a clear road map for candidate growth to ensure they are able to attract and retain employees, it recommends.

Average salaries per month

Health care (hospitals, clinics and laboratories)

  • Chief executive: Dh115,000
  • Chief medical officer: Dh95,000
  • Chief operation officer: Dh80,000
  • Head of department: Dh70,000
  • Chief nursing officer: Dh60,000
  • Doctor/physician (surgeon): Dh120,000
  • Doctor/physician (consultant): Dh70,000
  • Doctor/physician (specialist): Dh32,500
  • Nurse: Dh10,500
  • Laboratory/quality director: Dh55,000
  • Laboratory/quality manager: Dh40,000
  • Medical scientist: Dh40,000
  • Medical laboratory technician: Dh11,500

Medical science

  • Medical director: Dh67,500
  • Medical manager: Dh42,500
  • Medical science liaison: Dh30,000

Source: Michael Page

Updated: August 24, 2023, 12:12 PM