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UAE financial officers fear skills shortage

UAE financial officers fear skills shortage

Financiers are concerned their talent will be lured away by the “attractiveness” of Western markets, survey finds

Highly-qualified finance workers are in the recruitment driving seat as demand for talent outstrips supply, a study has found.

Financial bosses in the United Arab Emirates fear they are losing skilled employees to firms in the UK and USA, according to research by global recruitment consultancy Robert Half.

Recruiters are facing “fierce” competition when trying to recruit the best candidates for finance and accountancy roles, the company said.

Senior financial officers in the UAE said they feared their best performers would be lured away by the “attractiveness” of the overseas market.

According to the survey, more than a quarter of financial officers in the UAE were “very concerned” and 64 per cent were “somewhat concerned” about losing their staff next year.

The financiers surveyed also said that many prospective candidates were lacking the right technical and commercial skills to work in top-level finance and accountancy.

More than half said recruiting people was “somewhat challenging” and 48 per cent claimed a lack of niche technical expertise was the biggest issue.

A quarter said candidates did not have the right business and commercial skills.

Despite this, more than one in three officers plan to create new roles within their businesses and 85 per cent said they were confident about economic growth during the coming year.

Robert Half associate director Gareth El Mettouri said: “The attractiveness of overseas markets, particularly the US and UK, means professionals are considering both overseas and local opportunities when considering a move.

“With the shortage of finance and accounting professionals with specialised skills, candidates who are in-demand are finding themselves in the driver’s seat.”

He added: “While the oil and gas markets aren’t performing as well as previous years, the region is still attractive for business in real estate, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications and construction sectors.

“With businesses in these sectors introducing operations into the region, they are proactively attracting current top performers in the UAE and are willing to offer a competitive remuneration packages for candidates willing to make a move.  Retention concerns will therefore be high on businesses agenda as they look to keep hold of their top performing employees. ”

In a UAE survey published in June by Bayt.com, professionals said that living costs rose more than 20 per cent last year.

Inflation also rose 4.3 per cent year-on-year in May this year and Dubai registered its highest rate of inflation since 2009 last month.

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