CEOs and senior executives debated the UAE’s employment challenges in a major industry event hosted by GulfTalent.
Competition for talent and rising cost of living cited as top HR challenges facing employers in the UAE.
In a high-profile gathering of senior executives held today in Dubai, a leading panel of experts debated the key challenges faced by companies in attracting local and expatriate talent.
The event, which was organised by GulfTalent, and held in Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai, was attended by over 50 CEOs and senior executives from leading employers in the UAE. The discussion panel consisted of senior leaders from National Bank of Fujairah, Aujan Coca Cola, HSBC, Heidrick & Struggles as well as GulfTalent.
The panel found that, with the exception of the oil and gas sector, most UAE employers have been unaffected by the fall in the oil price, as the government has used its cash reserves to maintain investment and spending.
At the same time, panel members forecast that, if the fall in the oil price leads to a lower rate of job creation in the UAE public sector, it will provide the private sector with a window of opportunity to attract more UAE nationals. This will help achieve one of the government’s key objectives of increasing national participation in the private sector.
Commenting on the availability of expatriate talent, the panel believed that employee salaries and expectations in the UAE market had become heavily inflated, and sourcing talent from overseas in many cases was now easier and more cost-effective. The UAE’s strong reputation as a popular place for expatriates to live and work is helping employers attract this overseas talent.
The panel further touched on the rising cost of living, particularly housing and education. Some employers in the audience reported losing employees who returned to their home countries as rising costs diminished their savings. However, with rents and real estate prices going down in the course of this year, the panel expected inflation to be less of an issue than it was in 2014.