Hays Global Skills Index

Hays Global Skills Index 2019/20


The Hays Global Skills Index 2019/20 is a detailed report that looks at how easy or difficult it is for employers to recruit skilled labour across 34 markets.

Overall, labour market conditions remain similar to last year, with the average Index score unchanged at 5.4 – halting a steady rise since the Index began in 2012. Underneath this figure, however, are widespread variations among the 34 labour markets featured.

UAE snapshot

For the UAE, the overall index score has reduced from 4.7 in 2018 to 4.6 in 2019, suggesting easing pressures overall, helped by a strong and ever increasing supply of talent in the market.

The economy recovered from the slowdown of 2017. The medium-term outlook for growth outside the oil sectors is positive, thanks to greater investment, stronger prospects among trading partners and future tourism gains.

The boom in US shale production has lowered oil price forecasts, which will negatively impact oil sector growth in the UAE. To avoid risks associated with oil, the Government plans to diversify the economy and reduce the contributions of oil to GDP from 30% to 20% by 2021. The Government also continues to rebalance the economy away from the public sector through modification of the public-private sector balance of incentives for Emirati nationals, in a bid to increase Emirati private sector employment.

To support the region's attractiveness to high-skilled migrant labour, the Government has approved plans to offer long-term visas of 10 years to highly qualified scientists and researchers, and 5-year visas to entrepreneurs and outstanding students, beyond the current 3 years.

Job flow in the UAE for the past 12 months has been much the same as in 2018. Low energy prices have restricted growth in job numbers, but momentum in the non-oil sectors continues to strengthen and we expect job creation to increase. The most significant and busiest area of hiring is the IT sector, which is driving confidence right across the economy. We are seeing organisations from all industries invest heavily in the digital transformation of their outdated processes and procedures, enabling them to better compete on a global scale and which is then increasing demand for added headcount to deal with this surge in capability. In terms of available talent, the region is saturated with job seekers. People with very specialist niche skills (such as in solar, AI etc.) can be harder to find but the tax-free environment and high earning potential are significant pull factors for relocating to the region.



Top skills in demand in the UAE:

  • 1. Regional Business Managers
  • 2. Digital Marketing Specialists
  • 3. Application Developers (Full Stack, Frontend, Backend)
  • 4. Product Managers (Head of Product, Product Manager)
  • 5. Data Scientists


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