In general terms, Charterhouse and our peers within the industry, have been predicting strong growth across the UAE recruitment market moving in to 2022. The Accountancy & Finance sector is no different. One challenge that we often see and a question posed; links to where the demand and growth opportunity is being seen. As a Recruiter, this can quite often be seen as an unstructured or vague question and within the UAE market, as an ever-changing and dynamic economy, it can be difficult to predict or advise upon.
However, there are definite trends and no doubt that the UAE is gearing towards a blend of the old and the new. Some of the more traditional sectors are now roaring-back as the Covid world seems clearly, more manageable and “less scary” especially within a well-governed and compliant seeking country (that the UAE has proven to be) linking to pandemic management.
The Oil & Gas sector continues to see rising prices (some Analysts now projecting $100 per barrel during Q1) and whilst this is likely to have a cap (as renewables kick-in), the short to medium term gains will be apparent. The benefits of this are clear particularly within areas of infrastructure development and the continued growth of government-back federal projects.
Within the tourism sector, people more than ever want to visit the UAE. The lure of the country and the accessibility of world-class hotels, attractions and dining, has placed Dubai once more, at the top of the pecking order. Yes, the seasonal weather helps and look at the events hosted here since the back-end of last summer; it’s unmatched globally across a whole host of interests and sporting events.
EXPO 2020 Dubai (a Charterhouse RPO since January 2017) has been a huge fillip but has also become a benchmark, for events and the MICE industry, within a Covid world. The UAE has proven its pragmatism and willingness once more; and despite the challenge of the global pandemic (and any new variant) hosting this global event has proven successful, relevant and innovative. In short, Brand Dubai is stronger than ever globally.
These upturns are increasing opportunity within a strong real estate market and in turn the resurgence of large scale developments, catering across residential mixed-use and commercial sectors, will be another defining trend in 2022. This is mirrored also within the retail and hospitality space with new themes, outlets and hotel concepts continuing to evolve. Such market trends are combining to create the prospect of stronger and more secure employment opportunities. In a market that can be highly cyclical, the continued lure of Dubai as a logistics/trading point, start-up destination or technology hub will only enhance these prospects further.
The question is then; what functional roles are seeing strong demand and consistent growth? Clearly the Accountancy & Finance space is very broad in scope and covers a vast array of disciplines and technicalities.
Within areas of Financial Accounting, the need and alignment towards compliance and international standards is of increasing significance. The Chartered Accountant background, with understanding of and exposure to, IFRS reporting (through audit or reporting) remains a highly desirable asset and clients quite often look towards this background at all levels of accountancy recruitment.
The need for strong robust Finance Managers and Financial Controllers, is as always, an ongoing significant demand spike. These roles are quite often varied in scope and require excellent reporting capabilities combined with a knowledge and expertise to undertake financial management and operational support. The ability to support and add value to an organisation’s agility and “financial heath” whilst providing a commercial dimension is more important than ever. This scope of role can however, come at the expense of a pure Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A) based positions. Many organisations appear to prefer the “hybrid” option within a regional and/or “leaner” finance team.
Internal Audit & Governance related roles continue to show strong signs of demand. These positions are typically geared towards introducing, refining and rolling out strong controllership principles, along with audit governance, linking to financial and/or operational reviews. Such trends are normally linked to markets becoming increasingly “sophisticated” and regulated in nature; there is no doubt that the UAE continues to promote and instil compliance-backed legislation across both on-shore and Freezone jurisdictions.
Businesses continue to drive the demand for jobs within the areas of collections and receivables control, with an increased emphasis upon strong and coordinated customer relationship skills. Within service-related businesses especially, these types of technical and soft skills linking to the receivables discipline, are increasingly sought after. The matter of debtors is critical and the way it is undertaken, has clearly been reconsidered, with commercial ties and partnerships as a key driver.
The recent announcement of a UAE Corporate Tax, set for introduction during Q2 of 2023, is another interesting development within the Accountancy space. It’s too early to predict the upswing in demand for Tax Accountants and Specialists; but already we’ve seen Transfer Pricing becoming more significant, within Controller-type roles, especially across larger scale firms and multinationals. It would appear that this trend will continue to evolve for this 2023 rollout.
During 2022, we expect to see positive demand in general terms for qualified Accounting professionals with strong, relevant and demonstrable regional and/or international exposure. Throughout the year however, one of the main challenges within the sector, could actually be supply related. Certain skills, experience traits and accomplishments could be in short supply as the Recruiter looks to match the best talent with the best brand of client. For more information on job or candidate opportunity please visit us at www.charterhouseme.ae