GNcareers, from Gulf News

UAE job vacancies drop in first quarter of the year

Dubai: It’s a challenging start to the year for many jobseekers in the UAE, with fewer companies offering vacancies during the first three months of the year, a new report on Tuesday said.

The latest Morgan McKinley UAE Employment Monitor reported that number of jobs on offer in the country dropped by 9 per cent, from 7,899 slots in the last quarter of 2015 to 7,212 in the first quarter of 2016.

Recruitment specialists said that employment opportunities are particularly hard to come by in industries impacted by the decline in crude prices, such as those in the oil and gas sector- where redundancies have been on the rise- as well as those in the banking and financial services.

While things are slowing down on the labour front, there are now more candidates competing for vacancies, making it all the more difficult for jobseekers to land a good offer.

“It was a more challenging start to the year than usual,” commented Trefor Murphy, managing director for the Middle East and North Africa at Morgan McKinley. “The general feeling is that it’s a tough market out there, but then again, it’s a tough market everywhere at the moment.”

Murphy said they have noticed decreased hiring needs from their banking and financial services clients. He added that it is still obvious that the oil and gas industry is still “feeling the pain, as was to be expected.”

“Many of the oil and gas industry workers who have been laid off have remained in the region with the hope of the market picking up or of being able to shift careers. With the general weakness in the jobs market these candidates are having a tough time transitioning into a new career.”

However, opportunities still exist for some professionals in the UAE. Mid-career candidates with the “necessary depth of experience”, in particular, are still being sought after. “The challenge is to find those high-end candidates,” said Murphy. ““Those job seekers who can show a solid professional track record are the ones who employers are after.”

Besides, the situation could improve, if not this year, after 16 months.  The introduction of value-added tax, for example, should provide a much-needed budget relief to the government and beef up the economy. With the revenues from V AT, the government could finance new infrastructure building projects, which will then boost employment numbers.

“Although the market is not going at full throttle, there is still a general air of optimism with employers using this period to drive organisational efficiencies. We see this in the increased use of consultants and fixed term projects,” said Murphy.

Source: Cleofe Maceda, Senior Web Reporter, gulfnews.comGN