x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Dubai leads on hiring as confidence surges back

More than half of Dubai finance executives plan to hire more permanent staff over the next six months - the second highest number globally.

James Sayer, the director at Robert Half UAE, at right, said,
James Sayer, the director at Robert Half UAE, at right, said, "We have been experiencing an uplift in confidence for a number of firms within the UAE [this year]. We seem to be bearing the storm in a good way at the moment." Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

More than half of Dubai financial recruiters plan to hire more permanent staff before the end of the year - the second-highest percentage globally.

An international survey of almost 2,200 finance executives for the recruiter Robert Half found 52 per cent of those questioned in Dubai intend to hire.

That is slightly less than Brazil at 57 per cent but substantially more than the global average of just 24 per cent.

James Sayer, the director at Robert Half UAE, said the results did not come as a surprise to the recruiter.

"We have been experiencing an uplift in confidence for a number of firms within the UAE [this year]," he said. "We seem to be bearing the storm in a good way at the moment."

The survey revealed that while many of the larger multinationals were putting off plans to hire more staff because of the continuing uncertainty in Europe, that is not the case for many companies based here.

"Many local companies are hiring in response to strong growth and demand in the region," Mr Sayer said.

Phil Whitehead, the associate director at Gulf Recruitment Group, said many of its clients were also upbeat -and expected next year to be even better than this year.

Private bankers and wealth managers are most in demand, said Mr Whitehead.

"The majority of the hiring managers and senior executives we speak to want to hire."

Eight out of 10 executives in the UAE are confident about the country's growth prospects. Almost two thirds of UAE finance executives, 64 per cent, cited rising workloads as the biggest driver for increased hiring. But 81 per cent said it was hard to find skilled financial professionals.

Jobs in auditing, risk, financial planning and analysis and IT finance were listed as being particularly difficult roles to fill. And 85 per cent of those surveyed here said they were worried about losing top performers to other companies this year.

Mr Sayer said firms looking to attract and retain the most talented professionals should review their salaries and benchmark them against others.

According to the Robert Half Global Financial Salary Guide 2010-2011, a chief accountant with 10 to 15 years' experience who works for a large company is expected to earn US$115,000 (Dh422,418) to $130,000 a year in Dubai.

"Available talent in the Middle East is quite limited, so from a purely supply and demand perspective, salaries are generally higher here in the Middle East," said Mr Sayer.

A large proportion of the workforce are expatriates, which also pushes up salaries.

But not all finance professionals earn substantially more in the UAE.

An internal auditor with 10 to 15 years' experience who works in a large company is expected to earn $68,000 to $100,000 in Dubai, $80,000 to $96,000 in Singapore and $90,000 to $129,000 in Hong Kong, according to the guide.

gduncan@thenational.ae

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