Strong Hiring Confidence Remains in the UAE, but VAT Introduction Results in Greater Salary Demands: LinkedIn Survey

Wednesday 06 February 2019
Dubai - MENA Herald:

The majority (84 percent) of recruiters and human resource (HR) professionals remain confident about their ability to recruit the right candidates for businesses, yet more than half (56 percent) have experienced candidates demanding above average salaries since the roll out of value-added taxes (VAT), according to a Recruiter Sentiment Survey by LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network.

Impact of VAT on Hiring

The implementation of VAT in the UAE at the start of 2018 does not seem to have affected hiring rates, with most respondents (57 percent) seeing an increase in hiring from April to December 2018, when compared to the same period in 2017. However, according to more than half of recruiters (56 percent) candidates demand above average salaries in the post-VAT environment.

The top reasons for the increase in hiring from April to December 2018 were attributed to business growth (63 percent), availability of more suitable candidates (52 percent) and access to relevant talent insights (51 percent). However, over half (55 percent) of respondents stated that there was a greater supply of candidates than available roles.

“It is interesting to see that despite the introduction of VAT, the UAE job market and workforce appears to remain confident, according to the latest findings of the LinkedIn Recruitment Survey. However, the new tax does appear to be putting added pressure on businesses as candidates demand higher salaries to compensate for the increase,” said Ghassan Talhouk, Head of LinkedIn – UAE LinkedIn Talent Solutions.

The survey revealed that the most in-demand roles since the implementation of the VAT regime were tax and finance executives and IT specialists, as companies geared up for VAT -compliance.

According to the survey findings, transport, public administration and design sectors are among the hardest to find candidates for, while the hiring rates in IT, food and beverage and hospitality industries have peaked since the start of 2018.

Hiring considerations

The survey findings also revealed which industries were the easiest and most difficult to find candidates for. Since the start of 2018, hiring rates for the IT, food and beverage and hospitality industries have peaked, according to respondents, while the transport, public administration and design sectors were among the hardest to hire for.

In addition, two-thirds (68 percent) of respondents think that sourcing and hiring candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds is a big or major priority, amid increased awareness of the benefits of workplace diversity and inclusion.

How AI will affect Jobs

Survey respondents expect that AI will have a significant impact on the future of work in the UAE. The survey revealed that 68 percent of recruiters and HR professionals believe that AI will particularly affect jobs in finance, healthcare and transport/storage industries.

At the same time, half of recruiters and HR professionals (51 percent) agree that AI will also grow employment opportunities in the UAE and the wider region, yet lower availability

of entry- to mid-level jobs are anticipated by 46 percent of respondents due to increased automation of work processes.

Against the backdrop of a changing workforce, two-thirds of respondents consider people analytics tools to be ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ important for recruiters to do their jobs competitively in today’s workplace.

Talhouk added: “The need for the most qualified candidates is greater than ever before, so naturally, HR professionals are turning to workforce analytics tools to make smarter, data-driven business decisions. With real-time insights collected from more than 590 million LinkedIn members and 30 million companies, LinkedIn Talent Insights offers a whole new level of transparency to the talent marketplace and helps HR professionals plan for current and future hiring needs.”

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