GNcareers, from Gulf News

UAE firms struggle to search applicants with technical skills

UAE firms struggle to search applicants with technical skillsImage Credit: Supplied

While it may seem like there is a constant stream of candidates seeking job opportunities in the UAE, some companies are actually struggling to fill certain positions.

About six in ten employers in the country (68 per cent), and across the Middle East and India, are facing manpower shortages for positions that require niche skills in technology, according to a new research conducted by, a career recruitment solutions provider. did not specify what particular positions the UAE companies are struggling to fill, but according to previous studies, the talent shortage is a global problem. A talent survey conducted among 38,000 employers across 42 countries in 2013 ranked information technology (IT) staff as among the top ten jobs companies are having difficulty filling.

Qualified technology professionals are hard to find because a number of them are not actively looking for jobs. And even if employers would scour through online databases for CVs today, their search would probably prove futile.

The talent shortage is severe that recruitment departments at 55 per cent of the surveyed employers in the region would require at least five to ten man hours to search for the right technology professional. What’s even more challenging is that, for the 72 per cent of the companies, only two out of ten correspondences with applicants actually result into hiring.

''Technical talent is notoriously difficult to access and recruit. Many are not active job seekers, and therefore are unlikely to have uploaded a resume to a database or created a web profile, which makes them unfindable,'' said Sanjay Modi, managing director for India, Middle East, Southeast Asia and Hong Kong at

Stephan Berner, managing director at Help AG, said that recruiting new personnel for IT positions in their company is a long and tedious process. Often times, they bring people over from abroad when they struggle to find someone locally available.

''Overall, it is the technical positions that are the hardest to fill as the market does lack sufficiently qualified technical resources. Within this segment it is especially difficult to find professionals who are highly specialised and who have long-standing industry experience,'' Berner said.

However, the problem with some employers, particularly IT companies who rely on technical professionals, they lack the ability to attract and retain talent. Berner said it is important that companies provide sufficient compensation and ensure that their employees are content in their jobs.

''It is very typical to see that once an employee has achieved a strong set of skills and accreditations through the training and certifications provided by the organisation, he or she begins to look for better opportunities which in many cases means moving into a vendor organisation,'' said Berner.

The key to addressing the issue of talent shortage might be to introduce a technology or a platform that makes the search more efficient, thus saving employers considerable recruitment time, and enables ''candidate interaction tracking.''

''We need to look at augmenting how recruitment is approached,'' said Modi.

Talent shortages are affecting the ability of companies to serve their customers or clients. As of 2013, more than half of the companies (54 per cent) polled by Manpower Group said that the lack of qualified personnel were affecting their businesses to a high or medium degree.

In an attempt to make sourcing the right talent more efficient, introduced on Wednesday an online tool called TalentBin, which allows Middle East recruiters to access candidate profiles that have been aggregated from publicly available online ''social sources.''

The new technology seeks to assemble profiles of potential candidates, whether they’re actively looking for a job or not, based on internet users’ social activity. ''[This tool] surfaces potential job candidates by assembling profiles using current professional activities from relevant sites... Recruiters in the Middle East can now find many previously undiscoverable candidates – including those not actively seeking a new job,'' said.

Also read on family firms in Middle East who also struggle to find the right talent

Source: Cleofe Maceda, Senior Web Reporter,