Jobseekers in the UAE can stop holding their breath for a moment as new opportunities began trickling in on job boards and emails. This follows the slight easing of lockdown restrictions as the COVID-19 pandemic is slowly coming under control.

However, there is still a prominent imbalance between the number of opportunities available and the number of prospective jobseekers. As a result, it is very much a employer’s market in the UAE currently. Fortunately, it is still safe to say that hiring in the region is seeing a rebound.

In comparison to other major markets where rehiring slowed and layoffs continued in August, the UAE has been on an upward curve since June. Jobs are back at 56 percent of what they were at the same time last year, as recorded by i12WRK, a UAE-based online recruitment platform

Certain industries in particular including healthcare, pharma, FMCG, IT support, cybersecurity, and e-commerce saw a huge boom in demand; thus continued to hire and provide robust opportunities for full-time, part-time, seasonal, and overnight employees. Having adjusted to changing needs, the local talent market saw increased opportunities with SMEs.

With higher traction in categories that required experience of less than five years, these job vacancies attracted an increased number of applicants than it would normally do. Due to the rather desperate situation brought about by COVID-19, many of these applicants also tended to be overqualified for the positions. When employers have a choice to pick from a pool of incredibly qualified candidates, they have been able to negotiate hard on salaries.

Despite i12WRK’s findings pointing towards it being an employer’s market in the UAE, jobseekers are still rather cautious when accepting job offers. A survey by i12WRK found that jobseekers are still very concerned about a company’s culture, despite the increased difficulty in getting a job in the current environment. They are reluctant to join a company who has mistreated their employees  during the pandemic. Job security has become an important criterion in decision making.

Companies in the region have an increased preference for candidates who are available in the UAE and can join immediately. The pandemic has caused businesses to shift gears and accelerate in order to survive. As a result, Companies are faced with the same uncertainty as individuals and their hiring is guided by their urgency.

Employers across industries are also becoming more flexible with their requirements. The new normal has led employers to move the focus from job-specific tasks to additional digital skills in candidates to work remotely, and to adapt to new operating technologies. Employers are making decisions based on the value add a candidate brings and soft skills such as adaptability and flexibility, and it becomes essential for jobseekers to showcase how they have managed and come out of challenges.

Due to the pandemic, the international travel industry has come to a stand-still as nations limit entry with tight restrictions. As such, there is not a lot of new talent entering the UAE. This gives local jobseekers an advantage as recruiters dive into the available pool of resources to pick their star candidates.

The professional world is changing rapidly with technological advances and jobs of today might not be the jobs of tomorrow. It is important to be aware of the skills that are in demand now and in the future.


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