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United Arab Emirates

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Overall score

Score by Indicator

in 2016 4.8
0 2.5 5 7.5 10

Key drivers

Labour market participation

The fall in the UAE’s overall score has been driven by increasing participation rates, providing firms with a growing labour supply. Youth participation is expected to grow significantly.

Due to the lack of availability of UAE structural and long-term unemployment and vacancies data, we did not calculate the country’s Talent Mismatch score and therefore the overall Index score was calculated using six indicators.

Labour market flexibility

The net migration rate fell slightly last year— although at 1.13 per cent the country still had one of the highest net migration rates in the world.

Overall wage pressure

Average wage growth in 2017 is forecast by Oxford Economics to be fairly similar to wage growth in 2016, albeit slightly lower.


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View from the ground

The low energy prices seen throughout 2015 finally had an impact on the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) job market
in Q1 2016 as Federal budget cuts started to bite. The worst affected sectors have been oil and gas, construction and
banking, all of which have seen considerable redundancies, but elsewhere despite a degree of caution hiring carries on; manufacturing, retail, FMCG, IT, healthcare, airlines and hospitality/leisure are all sectors which have reasonably strong job numbers. Despite all of this the region is still attractive to international job seekers and interest in moving here remains high. For those organisations which are hiring there is no critical shortage of talent.

Chris Greaves, Managing Director, Hays UAE

Country Profile

The United Arab Emirates’ score in the Hays Global Skills Index is lower this year compared to last year, suggesting a larger pool of available candidates in the hiring market.

Employers in the United Arab Emirates are experiencing a growing working age population and high rate of immigration, both of which increase the country’s skilled labour supply and contribute to high labour market flexibility. The United Nations Population Division’s latest forecasts are that the number of people between the ages of 16 and 64 will grow by about 90,000 in 2017, an increase of 1.2 per cent compared to 2016.

Key skills in demand

  • Data analysts
  • .net programmers
  • Sales people with language skills
  • Property portfolio managers
  • Industrial engineers with language skills


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