Dubai Recruitment Advertising Drops

Khaleej Times(UAE), 13 July 2009

DUBAI - The economic downturn has reduced recruitment advertising across the Gulf region, but UAE -excluding Dubai -has witnessed a significant rise during the first half of 2009, compared with the same period a year ago, a study said.

The global economic meltdown has slowed recruitment activity in the region significantly, with Dubai in particular seeing a fall in the number of vacancies advertised, though still retaining a sizeable share of total recruitment advertising, online research firm GulfTalent.com said in a study released on Sunday.

The study also anticipates, quoting forecasts by economists, that regional economic growth would return to healthy levels in 2010 and a pick up in employment activity as a result.

However, it warned that recruitment would take time to reach its pre-downturn levels, with the price of crude oil being the key determinant in setting the pace of recovery.

The survey findings showed that the UAE leading the Gulf region in absolute numbers of expatriates working in the country. The study said that expatriates accounted for 90 per cent of the country's total workforce.

According to a recent survey conducted by the UAE Ministry of Economy, the unemployment rate among UAE nationals was as high as 12.7 per cent while it was only around 2.6 per cent among expatriates. Research firm YouGov, in a recent survey, said that one in 10 expats have lost their job during the last six months.

The GulfTalent.com research showed that investment, administration and marketing professionals have been the hardest hit while infrastructure-related disciplines and audit professionals were more in demand, mainly because of huge investment by the GCC governments on infrastructure.

It said that the percentage of Dubai-based vacancies advertised on the firm’s web site constituted only 30 per cent of all GCC-based positions advertised in the first half of the year, compared with 43 per cent over the same period in the previous year. Kuwait and Bahrain have also been badly hit.

In contrast, Abu Dhabi saw its percentage share of job vacancies increasing from 14 per cent to 23 per cent, while Qatar and Saudi Arabia also witnessed similar increases in their shares.

The UAE overall might have seen an increase in the outflow of expatriates, with 26 per cent of all job applications submitted by UAE residents targeting vacancies in other Gulf countries, compared to just 16 per cent the previous year. Despite the increase, the outward mobility of UAE-based expats was still the lowest in the region, with a majority preferring to remain 
in the country.

Across the region, the fall in demand has been most acute in investment, administration and marketing functions.

According to the findings, demand for investment professionals, including private equity and portfolio management, fell by 48 per cent in the first half of the year against the same period last year. For administration skills, demand fell by 47 per cent while the demand for marketing skills slid by 46 per cent.

But not all roles were suffering from a collapse in demand. Demand for infrastructure-related functions soared by 142 per cent, reflecting massive spending by GCC governments this year on road, railway and airport projects. Demand for audit professionals also increased by 25 per cent.