UAE Job Market Booms: Survey Reveals Optimistic Salary Outlook and Hiring Trends

With nearly 8 out of 10 employers expressing intentions to raise employee salaries and 69% planning to expand their workforce, the findings underscore a buoyant job market and a positive economic outlook for the region

In a testament to the resilience and dynamism of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) economy, a recent survey conducted by Hays Middle East unveiled promising prospects for job seekers and employers in 2024.

With nearly 8 out of 10 employers expressing intentions to raise employee salaries and 69% planning to expand their workforce, the findings underscore a buoyant job market and a positive economic outlook for the region.

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Released on Wednesday, the survey gathered insights from over 2,300 professionals and employers across the UAE and Saudi Arabia, offering a comprehensive snapshot of the current employment landscape.

Notably, a significant portion of employers – 58 per cent – expressed optimism regarding the UAE’s economic trajectory for the year ahead, further fueling confidence in hiring and investment.

Despite the surge in remote work arrangements globally, the survey revealed a contrasting trend in the UAE, with nearly half of companies (49 per cent) offering no remote or hybrid options to their employees.

This suggests a preference for traditional workplace settings, possibly driven by the nature of industries and the cultural context of the region.

The UAE’s robust economic growth post-pandemic has not only spurred job creation but also attracted a substantial influx of foreign workers, meeting the demands of companies seeking to expand their talent pool.

Oliver Kowalski, Managing Director of Hays Middle East, emphasized the sustained demand for qualified personnel, with 67 per cent of GCC employers aiming to increase their organizations’ headcount in 2024.

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“Employee expectations are clear; they seek adequate remuneration,” remarked Kowalski, highlighting that 75 per cent of professionals anticipate salary increases this year.

Moreover, with 31 per cent of skilled workers actively considering changing organizations, the labour market exhibits signs of dynamic movement and fierce competition for talent.

In 2023, over half (52 per cent) of UAE employees reported salary increments, primarily ranging up to 5 per cent.

Encouragingly, a staggering 72 per cent of professionals anticipate salary hikes in 2024, reflecting growing confidence in economic recovery and organizational performance.

Interestingly, 30 per cent of employees plan to switch companies this year, signalling a willingness to explore new opportunities amidst evolving market dynamics.

The survey also shed light on employers’ hiring preferences, with 40 per cent stating they employed UAE nationals and a similar percentage intending to recruit Emiratis in 2024.

The demand for local talent remains high, underscoring the government’s initiatives to foster Emiratization and empower national citizens in the workforce.

In the realm of technology, opinions regarding artificial intelligence (AI) were divided among employers in the Gulf region.

While 41 per cent advocated for its use in the workplace, a considerable proportion expressed concerns about its potential impact on employment.

With 37 per cent fearing that AI could eliminate more job opportunities than it creates, there is a growing recognition of the need for upskilling and reskilling initiatives to adapt to technological advancements.

Despite this awareness, only 14 per cent of employers reported offering AI training programs to their employees, highlighting a gap in addressing the evolving skill requirements of the workforce.

As industries evolve and embrace digital transformation, investing in training and development initiatives becomes imperative to ensure workforce readiness and competitiveness in a rapidly changing landscape.

As the UAE charts its course for another year of economic growth and transformation, the survey findings guide policymakers, businesses, and individuals alike.

With opportunities abound and challenges to navigate, the resilience and adaptability of the UAE workforce continue to be its greatest assets in shaping a prosperous future.

In conclusion, the survey paints a promising picture of the UAE’s job market, characterized by rising salaries, expanding employment opportunities, and a growing emphasis on talent development amidst technological disruption.

As the nation embarks on its journey towards sustainable development and economic diversification, the synergy between employers, employees, and policymakers will be crucial in realizing its full potential on the global stage.

 

This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members

Tariq Saeed

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