Confident employers return to jobs market

Demand in the job market is increasing, with more employers in the UAE looking to fill high-level positions.

Demand in the job market is heating up as more employers in the Emirates look to fill high-level positions.

Nearly 60 per cent of businesses are looking to hire at managerial and professional level, up from 46 per cent in the first quarter of the year, according to a survey from Antal, an international recruitment company with an office in Dubai.

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Sixty-eight per cent of companies are also expected to hire staff for various middle and senior-level positions in the next three months.

The surge in demand comes at a time when a growing number of Emirati university graduates are entering the job market.

About 330,000 nationals are already part of the labour force and their ranks are projected to grow to about 450,000 by 2020.

By 2050, that figure is expected to be about 600,000, according to data from Towers Watson, a human resources consultancy that recently examined the supply of talent in the Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

"People are getting more educated and will want to join the labour market, and that will push participation rates higher," said Zaki Zahran, an economist with Towers Watson and a co-author of the report.

This means governments and companies are "going to have to find a way to employ the big number of people we have here", Mr Zahran said.

The number of educated Emirati women in particular will increase considerably in the coming years and more than double over the next four decades, according to Towers Watson projections.

This emerging population could be a boon for organisations looking to meet Emiratisation targets, but experts say employers in the private and public sectors need to offer career opportunities and programmes tailored to individual aspirations.

Some of these schemes might include more flexible working hours for the high proportion of women in the region who want to start a family, said Dr Fatima Al Sayegh, an associate professor at UAE University's faculty of humanities and social sciences.

Companies with "flexibility to respond to different parts of the workforce in specific ways, and sustain that, are clearly going to experience lower levels of employees who voluntarily leave", said David Zinn, a senior consultant based in Dubai for Towers Watson.