UAE Financial Sector To Freeze Hiring in H2 2013

The UAE’s financial sector is poised for expansion in the second half of 2013 but hiring depends largely on winning new projects.



Around 15 per cent of the UAE’s chief financial officers (CFOs) will maintain their existing head count levels in the second half of the year while 44 per cent will freeze hiring completely, a survey from financial recruitment firm Robert Half UAE has revealed.

Around 37 per cent of CFOs will be expanding their finance departments in the second half of 2013 compared to 35 per cent during the same period last year, the report showed.

Based on the sample of 75 CFOs and finance directors, the Robert Half Financial Hiring Index found that Dubai-based financial leaders were more bullish about their expansion plans than their Abu Dhabi counterparts.

Around 64 per cent of the respondents cited new projects and initiatives as a reason for hiring while 57 per cent said they would hire only if they released a new product or service expansion.

Only 32 per cent of respondents said they would increase hiring when entering new markets, while 29 per cent said they would hire if there was scope for business expansion in international and domestic markets.

“Strong, prudent financial management is essential in any economy, but particularly during a time when companies are focused on driving new initiatives, growth and expansion plans to gain market share. Executives looking to increase headcount to take advantage of the upswing are finding that talent shortages exist within finance and accounting,” said James Sayer, director of Robert Half UAE.

The majority of the respondents said that finding a skilled financial professional is ‘somewhat challenging’ while 35 per cent reported that it was ‘very challenging’.

Areas like financial management, accounting, tax & treasury and business analysis are the most difficult fields to recruit for, which results in the formation of retention strategies in order to retain the best talent.

Accounting and finance professionals are becoming increasingly valuable for achieving growth as the economy rebounds.

“Economic confidence is prompting organisations to focus on growth and many are turning to their finance departments, not only to crunch the numbers, but also to devise a strategy on finding new sources of revenue generation,” said Sayer.

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