GNcareers, from Gulf News

Weak oil prices slow down job hiring in UAE

Weak oil prices slow down job hiring in UAEImage Credit: Supplied

The decline in oil prices has slightly dampened the recruitment activity in the UAE, with the number of new jobs created increasing only by one per cent in the first three months of the year compared to the previous quarter.

Businesses in the UAE, including government offices, were not so keen to expand their payrolls during the first quarter, but the hiring activity is expected to pick up soon because the oil sector is showing signs it will bounce back in the next few months.

''The low oil price has contributed to taken a level of buoyancy out of the market, making both private and governmental organisations slightly reluctant to proceed with any kind of aggressive growth plan'', explains Trefor Murphy, Managing Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Morgan McKinley, a global professional services recruiter.

Data compiled by Morgan McKinley showed that there were a total of 8,213 jobs created between January and March 2015, showing only a slight increase (1 per cent) compared to 8,162 jobs between October and December 2014.

''We've had strong growth quarter-on-quarter up until the first quarter,'' said Murphy.

Job openings in the oil and gas sector alone have slowed down.

''There are no major requirements coming out of the industry – except in the replacement of vacant jobs, created by people leaving or retiring from their employment in order to live and work elsewhere,'' McKinley said in its report.

Across the banking sector, the demand for risk professionals has also dropped, although there is still ''heavy demand'' for compliance and legal professionals.

There have been speculations that many businesses in the region will incur a reduction in profits due to the oil price decline and the uncertainties created by conflict in countries such as Syria.

Dana Gas, a major energy firm based in Sharjah has just announced a 73 per cent decline in profits. The company recorded net earnings of $12 million in the first quarter of the year, compared to $45 million a year earlier.

However, Morgan McKinley is optimistic that hiring in the second half of the year will be ''buoyant'' as the oil industry is forecast to strengthen.

''I think we will see a return to good growth and organisations that were curbed in the first quarter of 2015 will see the numbers pick up across the year, and across three quarters, we will return to a growth rate of 6 to 8 per cent in new professional hiring recruitment growth,'' said Murphy.

Besides, there is still a strong demand for candidates with qualifications in specialist finance, especially in areas such as internal auditing, project and corporate finance. Demand for manufacturing, compensation and benefits specialists, IT and marketing professionals is also showing strong growth.

''Pharmaceutical and the FMCG sectors want to focus on top-line growth and so many organisations are focused on increasing their sales and marketing function while still keeping a close eye on tighter procurement and spending to reduce costs – and so a number of companies are looking for expertise in Six Sigma or lean techniques'', added Murphy.

Overall, McKinley reported that 23 per cent more jobs were created in the UAE between the first quarter of 2014 (6,653) and first quarter of 2015 (8,213).

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Source: Cleofe Maceda, Senior Web Reporter,