Hiring Alert: 63% of UAE Businesses Intend to Hire More Employees in the Next 12 Months

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The UAE job market is set for significant expansion, with 63% of UAE businesses planning to hire more employees over the next year. This trend is driven by a surge in demand for products and services, leading to a positive outlook among business leaders. However, global economic challenges pose potential obstacles, prompting some companies to adopt a cautious approach. 

Current Hiring Trends of UAE businesses

According to recent surveys, a significant majority of UAE businesses are gearing up to expand their workforce. This trend is buoyed by a robust demand for products and services, which has instilled confidence in business leaders about their growth prospects. With the UAE economy showing signs of resilience, companies are keen to capitalize on new opportunities by bringing in fresh talent.

Global Economic Uncertainty

The global economic picture remains uncertain due to multiple elections and unstable inflation. According to the report, 39 percent of organizations consider this uncertainty a major hurdle to business performance. As a result, some UAE businesses have implemented hiring freezes, awaiting election results in the UK and the US, as well as interest rate stabilization, before resuming recruitment activities. These global issues are driving up costs in the UAE.

Confidence Amidst Uncertainty

Surveying 100 senior business decision-makers in the UAE, the report found that two-thirds (67 percent) of business leaders feel confident about growth prospects for the remainder of 2024 and into 2025. Their confidence stems from increased demand for products and services (66 percent), expanding business opportunities (58 percent), and a better economic situation (50 percent).

Navigating Hiring Decisions

Despite the confidence, global uncertainty impacts hiring intentions. Gareth El Mettouri, Director – Middle East at Robert Half, emphasizes the impact of parliamentary elections worldwide. High inflation and unstable interest rates lead many businesses to play it safe and delay important decisions. One in three business leaders (33 percent) awaits election outcomes, particularly in the US and the UK, while 32 percent wait for interest rates to stabilize.

Delayed Hiring Activities

UAE businesses

The global economic landscape is causing delays in hiring activities for some UAE companies. Businesses are cautious, awaiting the results of crucial elections and the stabilization of interest rates before making significant hiring decisions. This cautious approach is seen as a way to mitigate potential risks associated with economic fluctuations.

Economic Indicators

Key economic indicators such as inflation rates, interest rates, and election outcomes in major economies are influencing hiring decisions in the UAE. Business leaders are closely monitoring these indicators to time their hiring activities optimally. A stable economic environment is crucial for sustained hiring growth.

Sector-wise Hiring Trends

Different sectors in the UAE are experiencing varied hiring trends. For instance, the technology and healthcare sectors are seeing a higher demand for skilled professionals, while traditional sectors like retail and hospitality are gradually recovering from past downturns. This sector-wise variation highlights the dynamic nature of the UAE job market.

Hiring Freeze and Talent Challenges

The rising costs in the UAE have prompted 29 percent of organizations to introduce a hiring freeze. However, this approach risks leaving companies without the talent needed to meet their growth potential. Additionally, 37 percent of employers expect technical skill availability to be a significant challenge over the next 12 months.

Salary and Bonus Trends

Robert Half recommends that organizations retain talented workers. Yet, 33 percent of companies do not anticipate offering salary increases, and 30 percent expect to forgo bonuses this year. Despite hiring freezes and delays, business leaders still expect the overall headcount to increase, setting the stage for a competitive market in 2025.

Preparing for a Competitive Market

As the hiring market becomes more competitive, businesses must adopt proactive strategies. This includes building a strong employer brand, investing in employee development, and leveraging technology for efficient recruitment processes. Preparing for a competitive market will position companies for success once economic conditions stabilize.

While UAE businesses remain optimistic about growth, global uncertainties necessitate strategic decisions to navigate the hiring landscape. The UAE’s economic resilience will be tested as organizations balance growth aspirations with talent retention and cost management.

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