The United Arab Emirates remains among the most booming and competitive job markets regionally and globally, with many talented professionals looking to make their next big break. The latest MENA Job Index Survey from, the number one job site in the Middle East, and global online market research company, YouGov, indicates that hiring intentions are on the rise. Three in every four UAE employers (78%) are planning to hire in the next three months, and the outlook continues to improve as 86% of employers are planning to hire in the coming year.

Over seven in 10 working respondents (71%) claim that their company has hired new employees in the last 6 months, with 56% having hired new employees in the last 3 months. Looking ahead, over six in 10 UAE employers who plan to hire over the next three months expect to fill up to 10 different jobs. The remaining companies will hire for 11 to 20 jobs (6%), 21 to 50 jobs (8%), and more than 51 jobs (12%). 

Overall, the hiring index in the MENA region has increased by 12 points showing significant growth in hiring activity when compared to the past year.

Hiring intentions in MENA

The outlook looks positive for job seekers across the MENA region as three in every four (73%) employers plans to make new hires in the next three months, and more so in the UAE (78%). Overall, hiring intentions by sector remain consistent. Notably, 76% of multinational companies as well as small-medium local companies plan to hire in three months. In regards to hiring potential by industry, automotive (84%) and real estate/ construction/ property development (81%) demonstrated the highest intention of hiring in the short term.

As we look to the coming year, the outlook continues to be positive with almost nine in 10 MENA respondents claiming that they will be hiring across the private sector (88%) and 84% will be hiring for the public sectors. Jobseekers will be pleased to know that in the coming year, hiring intention across many sectors is extremely positive, and real estate/ construction/ property development (97%), and domestic services (94%) will be hiring the most.

Roles and experience

The majority of UAE companies will be hiring junior and mid-career positions, with maximum requirement emerging for junior executive (44%). This is followed by manager (35%), senior executive (33%), and coordinator (33%). Still, some companies are looking to fill top management positions, with 35% looking to hire C-Suite or managing director positions.

Sales executive (30%), accountant (29%), and project manager (23%) emerged among the top roles that UAE respondents are hiring for overall. This is followed by sales manager (22%), director (marketing, project management) (20%), and finance analyst (20%).

41% of UAE responses are looking for mid-level experience (3-7 years), nearly four in 10 UAE respondents state that they are looking for candidates with sales and marketing experience (38%), while 34% are searching for those with managerial experience and a quarter want IT/computer experience (25%). When it comes to skill sets in UAE, good communication skills in both the English and Arabic languages are highly sought after (52%). This is followed by being a team player (47%), good leadership skills (45%), and having the ability to work under pressure (44%).

Business management (32%) and commerce (28%) are most sought-after academic qualifications amongst employers in the UAE, followed by engineering (22%), science qualifications (18%), computer science (17%) and administrative qualifications (17%).

Industries attracting top talent

Real estate/construction/property development (34%) emerges as the industry that attracts top talent across the UAE. This is followed by advertising/marketing/public relations (32%), banking and finance (30%), engineering/design (26%), IT (24%), business consultancy (23%), and telecommunications (21%).

Banking and finance emerges as the main industry attracting national talent (34%) and fresh graduates (34%). This is followed by advertising, marketing and public relations (30% for national talent and 30% for fresh graduates). When it came to female talent, advertising, marketing and public relations was considered the most attractive (46%), followed by banking and finance (38%), healthcare/ medical services (34%), and human resources (30%). 

“Our goal at is to arm job seekers with the tools needed to thrive in today’s increasingly competitive job market. The question of job availability and requirements across the region and different industries matters to all professionals. The results of our latest survey indicate that employment opportunities will most likely increase and many will be geared towards the younger generation who are looking for entry-level positions. For them to increase their eligibility, young job seekers need to focus on fine-tuning their communication and leadership skills, and can tap into the various tools offered on that are designed to improve their skills and differentiate them from the competition,” said Suhail Masri, Vice President of Employer Solutions, “We are proud to be able to provide tens of thousands of jobs on a daily basis and to connect many companies and organizations to our database of more than 33 million CVs.”

“It is refreshing to note that hiring across the region is on an upward trajectory. Hiring intentions are a measure of the economic wellbeing of the region, and also a reflection of the growing competitive environment that will drive job performance,” said Kerry McLaren, Director – Data Services at YouGov MENA.

Data for the August 2018 Middle East Job Index Survey was collected online from 31st May 2018 to 31st July 2018. Results are based on a sample of 1,709 respondents, 1,505 of whom were of working status, from the following countries: UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Palestine, Syria, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Sudan, and Pakistan.


Source: MSL Group