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WE’LL CALL YOU: Tips and trends on recruitment in the UAE

WE’LL CALL YOU: Tips and trends on recruitment in the UAE

Kipp caught up with Omar Tahboub, VP of Product at, and picked his brain about what the year ahead looks like for job seekers, how the landscape has changed since the crisis hit, and the dos and don’ts of job searching.

April 29, 2012 3:24 by

Q: What is the state of recruitment in the UAE in 2012?

A: The latest MENA Job Index survey from January 2012 shows that the UAE’s hiring expectancy in the first quarter of 2012 is slightly higher than it was in quarter four of 2011, with most jobs offered for junior executives in the private sector, and a preference for computer science, commerce and business management qualifications across the region. More than 60 percent of UAE employers are planning to hire in 2012.

Q: How has recruitment changed over the past three years, and how should candidates react to this type of change?

A:  The past three years have driven home, at an exponential rate, the importance of four vital factors.

Firstly, the importance of reach and choice in an increasingly networked global recruitment playing field – both for employers looking to source top candidates from a global talent pool, and for professionals looking to source top jobs with the region’s best employers.

Secondly, there is no longer a substitute for having a presence on a jobsite – whether a somewhat private one in the form of a top-notch CV on a jobsite, or a public one which allows a professional’s profile to be easily searchable and widely visible to potential employers, clients, consultants, peers and referring parties alike.

Thirdly, the importance of relevant, real-time information in the job search – whether it’s staying abreast of the latest recruitment and industry trends or gauging salary levels for a particular company/industry/country, or assessing what employers are looking for at any point in time for any industry, etc.

Finally, the importance of ongoing education.  Employers are increasingly looking for lifelong learners who will update their skills continuously. Numerous polls and researches conducted by have emphasized the importance of training, both in terms of the kind of mindset employers are looking for in candidates, and in terms of what jobseekers are increasingly requesting from their employers. Opportunities for training and career progression consistently rank as a top requirement when evaluating employers.

Q: Recruiters can now go online to check up on a potential candidate’s online social media presence. How real a threat is the ‘online check’ here in the UAE?

A: There is a lot of potential value to be had from having a well-managed and well-considered online presence.  It can allow a professional unparalleled access to potential employers, clients, consultants, suppliers, peers and referring parties.  The networking opportunities can have a significant and positive potential impact on both the job search process and career success in general.

Professionally speaking, people looking for jobs need to keep the power of social media in mind as they embark on their job search. So, instead of not existing online at all, a more efficient way of handling online publicity is to build it beforehand with a strategic view and foresight.

Candidates must also be wary of privacy settings, as they don’t want the wrong kind of information to be publicly accessible by anyone who searches on Google.

Q: Which sectors seem to be hiring more than the others, and at what level?

A: According to’s latest Middle East Job Index Survey – January 2012, the industries that are attracting and retaining the top talent across the region are telecommunications (33%), banking and finance (32%), and construction (29%). In the UAE, the top industries are banking and finance (34%), Oil, gas and petrochemicals (32%), telecommunications and tourism and hospitality (27% each). Employers are looking to hire across the career spectrum including junior executives, executives, coordinators and senior executives.

The three most desirable skills for UAE employers are good communication capabilities in English and Arabic (52%), the ability to be a team player (47%), and good leadership skills (42%).

Q: What are the most important things a candidate should consider when posting their resume on a recruitment site?

An optimized CV should be often refreshed and updated. It should target the exact position sought, and include the right keywords to appear in the most employer search results with the highest relevance score. It should also be thoroughly proofread and preferably include great recommendations.

As per’s Hiring Practices in the MENA Employer Poll, 21.3% of employer respondents claim that poor language on a CV is the biggest mistake that jobseekers can make. The second biggest mistake, according to 19.7% of employers, is submitting a CV that is not customized for the role. Clear exaggerations (16.4%) and poor format (14.8%) also figure highly on the list, along with lack of focus and key omissions.

Q: As far as pay scales are concerned, have you observed a change in salary expectations from candidates and employers over the years?

In the UAE, professionals mostly feel that there is no change in their personal financial situation, when compared to the same time last year, with 28% believing that their situation is worse. A similar balance is true with regards to the opinion of the country’s economy – 34% believe that it is the same as last year, 29% believe that it is worse, and 27% believe that it has improved. As ever, there is considerable optimism for the future in the UAE, with 46% stating their belief that their personal financial situation will be better in a year’s time, while 45% hold hope that the country’s economy will also have improved in a year’s time.

Our latest MENA Salary Survey 2012 revealed that despite 44% of employees having been unhappy with their last pay rise, more than half believe that salaries in the UAE are increasing. 43% claim not to have received a raise in the last 12 months, while those who did receive a raise are predominantly unhappy with what they received; collectively, 44% claim to have been ‘unhappy’ or ‘very unhappy’. 63% expect to receive a raise in the coming year and 25% of which are looking at a 15 percent increment or more. 51% believe that salaries in the UAE are increasing, the most popular reason for this is perceived to be inflation and the rising cost of living (52%), followed by the local growth in opportunities and economic growth being cited as the reason for the increase (32%).

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