UAE sees talent shortage as more expats stay at home

The UAE employment market continues to thrive and demand for specialist occupations far outweighs supply, resulting in talent shortages across the region, according to the Robert Half 2015 Salary Guide.

Despite challenges recruiting staff, salaries for professional roles in finance and accounting, financial services, information technology, legal, HR and administration rose on average by two percent over the past 12 months, it said.

Compounding hiring challenges is stronger employment prospects in the UK and US resulting in fewer expatriates to the region, Robert Half said.

The Robert Half 2015 Salary Guide said accounting and finance recruitment in the UAE has returned to pre-recessionary levels, with companies expanding existing teams as well as investing in new initiatives.

According to UAE CFOs, 43 percent plan to increase finance team salaries for existing staff by an average of 6 percent, while 27 percent will increase bonuses, with 51 percent aiming to keep them at current levels.

The survey said financial services hiring has levelled in the past year, following previous aggressive recruitment activity resulting from departmental expansion and creation as well as new entrants into the market.

Still, competition for skilled financial services talent is acute with nearly all executives citing challenges sourcing skilled professionals.

According to the report, compensation in the HR recruitment sector is increasing with more than four in 10 HR directors indicating that they will be increasing salaries for existing staff and companies are trying to stand out by offering perks like flexible working, subsidised training and additional annual leave.

Gareth El Mettouri, associate director, Robert Half UAE said: “With hiring returning to pre-recessionary levels, businesses are feeling the talent crunch and are struggling to source the staff they need to leverage sustained growth in the region.

“Despite strong demand and short supply, companies are still only offering modest salary increases and are finding that they are unable to attract the right talent to fill critical roles.

“Businesses still hope that expatriate recruitment will bridge the talent shortfall, but this is proving challenging as global economies improve and many of the professionals who were attracted to the Middle East during the downturn are finding appealing opportunities at home.

“Firms are stepping up efforts, conducting remote interviews and accommodating relocation efforts while others are making offers within weeks of an expatriate’s arrival.”

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