Momentum in the UAE’s job market will build in 2014, led by growth in the labour-intensive engineering and manufacturing sectors, according to Sanjay Modi, the managing director for the Middle East at Monster.com, one of the world’s leading job search websites.
“I don’t expect a big jump [in vacancies … more like] stable single-digit growth,” said Mr Modi.
Finance, health care, property and hospitality will all benefit, as a growing economy creates demand for labour. Employment growth in oil and gas will not be “as robust”, said Mr Modi, while developments in the IT and telecoms sectors “are leading to huge consolidations”.
On the other hand, technological developments during the next year will “fuel manpower growth”, he said.
Vacancies, a measure of available employment opportunities, fell in the UAE by 14 per cent over the 12 months to September 2013, the last month for which data is available.
This is according to Monster’s employment index for the Arabian Gulf region, which searches online and physical listings to gauge employers’ need for new workers.
Customer service jobs decreased most significantly over this period, as advertised vacancies declined by 18 per cent.
Not all sectors lost out, however. Education registered the most significant year-on-year growth in hiring, with vacancies up 28 per cent over the past year. Most in demand across the UAE were creative, marketing and communications professionals, advertised vacancies for whom increased by 27 per cent over the year.
This means that routine service sector companies are looking for fewer new employees, while opportunities for skilled workers increase.
As the UAE moves up the value chain, growth is leading to the creation of larger numbers of skilled jobs, and may suggest a rebalancing of the economy away from routine, unskilled service jobs.
HSBC’s Purchasing Managers Index, published last month, showed UAE managers’ continued optimism about hiring prospects, and suggests increasing overall demand for labour.
“Workforce numbers have now increased continuously for almost two years and the rate of job creation in November was the highest since June,” the report said.
Increased new business was the main reason for the hiring of additional staff, according to panellists interviewed for the index.