UAE jobs market declines after summer lull and oil slump

The number of available professional jobs in the UAE declined 5 per cent year on year in the third quarter as the economy slowed amid falling oil prices and the lull of summer and Ramadan, according to the latest Morgan McKinley employment report.

The number of new jobs available from July to September fell to 7,621 from 8,002 jobs in the same period last year. Quarter on quarter new jobs dropped 6 per cent, it said.

Meanwhile, the number of professionals seeking jobs in the UAE rose 4 per cent year on year to 39,183, the recruitment consultancy said.

“This is the first quarter-on-quarter drop of this magnitude that we have recorded but the underlying trend is still positive, and we see no reason for pessimism,” said Trefor Murphy, managing director at Morgan McKinley.

“The coincidence of Ramadan and summer has undoubtedly had an unusually strong impact.”

The slump in oil has put a brake on the UAE’s economic growth, with the IMF forecasting 3.2 per cent growth this year. The UAE is the sixth-largest producer of oil in the world and uses revenue from crude sales to fund more than 60 per cent of the federal budget. Since last summer the price of crude has shed more than 50 per cent of its value.

According to a survey late last month by Gulf Finance, the SME lending arm of the Dubai-based investment bank Shuaa Capital, small businesses are becoming more pessimistic about the outlook for growth.

Nervousness on the hiring front has also hit SMEs, with the Gulf Finance survey showing that 4 per cent of SMEs surveyed in the third quarter reduced staff compared to the second quarter, when the headcount was steady.

But Morgan McKinley expressed optimism that there was light at the end of the tunnel and that hiring would pick up in the final quarter. “Things were already picking up at the end of September and the trend consolidated at the start of October,” Mr Murphy said.

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