Experts offer tips based on the latest hiring trends in the country
APK, a long-term expatriate residing in Dubai, has faced challenges in the evolving job market. After arriving in the UAE with a college degree in the early 1990s, he quickly secured employment. However, the Covid-19 pandemic led to his layoff, and he has since struggled to find stable full-time work, resorting to temporary jobs to make ends meet. APK's situation highlights a common issue, as recruitment specialists emphasize that many job seekers fail to recognize the shifting dynamics of the UAE job market.
According to the 2023 Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey conducted by PwC Middle East, the region is experiencing a "transformational change on multiple fronts." The survey, which included participants from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, and Qatar, revealed that 52 percent of respondents believe their jobs will undergo significant changes in the next five years. This implies the need for individuals to acquire new skills and capabilities to remain relevant in the evolving employment landscape.
Jeron van den Elshout, business director at global recruiting group Hays, sheds light on the evolution of the UAE job market, emphasizing a shift towards a knowledge-based economy and job specialization. This transformation is driven by the country's strategic initiatives to diversify its economy and reduce dependence on oil. Government investments in sectors like education, healthcare, tourism, and technology have further accelerated this transition.
Which sectors are hiring
According to the Hays GCC Salary Guide 2023, the technology sector and banking and financial services are among the key sectors in the GCC region.
Jeron van den Elshout from Hays highlights the skills shortages in the technology sector, particularly in data-related roles where specialized skills are required. Professionals in roles such as data scientists, data analytics, data engineers, and machine learning experts are in high demand due to the scarcity of qualified professionals. Elshout also mentions that the rapid growth of digital transformation has created a strong demand for professionals with expertise in software development, cybersecurity, data analytics, and cloud solutions.
Keywords matter in your job applications
According to Charbel El Fakhry, an HR expert based in the UAE, job-seekers with poor CVs often face challenges in their job search. He points out that in the Middle East, there is an average of 200 applications for each advertised position, highlighting the intense competition in the region.
El Fakhry emphasizes the importance of understanding and leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and automated systems used in the recruitment process. He suggests that job-seekers familiarize themselves with advanced algorithms and analytics to optimize their visibility to automated parsing systems, increasing their chances of being noticed by recruiters.
To improve their chances of being shortlisted for interviews, El Fakhry advises candidates to carefully analyze job descriptions and identify keywords and skills sought by recruiters. By strategically incorporating these elements into their applications, individuals can enhance their visibility and improve their prospects in the job market.
Boost your online presence
El Fakhry emphasizes the importance of building a strong professional online presence for job-seekers. He suggests utilizing platforms like LinkedIn to engage with relevant communities, expand networks, and increase visibility to recruiters and AI-powered sourcing tools.
Active participation in online discussions, showcasing skills, and demonstrating industry knowledge can greatly enhance job-seekers' chances of attracting employers' attention, according to El Fakhry.
Elshout supports this notion and highlights that social media offers employees a platform to build a personal brand, which can ultimately enhance their career prospects. By strategically leveraging social media, individuals can showcase their expertise and differentiate themselves in the job market.
Why upskilling is important
Elshout emphasizes that experience is a valuable asset for job-seekers, regardless of their age. He suggests that experienced professionals can compete by leveraging their strengths, demonstrating adaptability, and showcasing a willingness to learn.
However, he also highlights the importance of continuous learning and upskilling in today's dynamic job market. Professionals at all stages of their career should invest time in acquiring new skills and staying up to date with industry trends.
The PwC survey mentioned earlier revealed that 61 percent of respondents in the region have a distinct understanding of how their skills are expected to evolve. This shows the awareness among professionals regarding the need for continuous growth and development.
Randa Bahsoun, a partner at PwC Middle East, emphasizes the importance of recognizing the emergence of Generation Z in the workforce. Organizations need to adapt their structures and create an inclusive workplace environment that caters to the characteristics and expectations of younger employees. As the balance shifts towards a younger workforce, organizations must be mindful of age diversity and adjust accordingly to meet the demands and expectations of different generations.
News Source: Khaleej Times