New data from LinkedIn reveals that the fastest growing job titles scouted by employers in the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are in the Sales, Technology, Sustainability and Human Resources sectors.
Among the most in-demand roles are Back-end Developer, Sales Representative, Environmental Manager, and Human Resources Operations Specialist.
This comes amid rapid digital transformation in KSA and the UAE, and as Saudi Arabia builds the world’s first cognitive city NEOM, powered by 100% renewable energy, and the UAE prepares to host the most important sustainability event on the planet, COP28, in Dubai later this year.
Growing jobs market as non-oil sectors grow
The UAE has witnessed the highest increase in job creation in the last six years and the job market is expected to still see strong growth over the next coming years, as the economy continues to diversify into non-oil sectors.
According to S&P Global’s UAE PMI, the UAE experienced the highest increase in job creation in the third quarter of 2022, a rise of 56% in new jobs across non-oil sectors.
Nadia Global, a UAE-based recruitment agency, predicts “rapid growth” in the UAE’s employment market over the next five years as the country continues to “become a worldwide focal point for growth and opportunity despite increasing costs and challenges of finding and retaining talent.”
The picture is similar in Saudi, which, in December, saw the strongest increase in employment in almost five years, even as business conditions in the Kingdom’s growing non-oil economy improved at a slightly slower pace at the end of last year following a surge.
Organisations looked to add to their staffing capacity in response to an increase in sales and higher demand, according to S&P.
Tech takes centre stage in the region
Tech jobs dominate the fastest growing roles in the region, according to LinkedIn, with four out of 10 roles in Saudi Arabia in the cybersecurity, data analysis and software development domains. While the UAE witnessed growth in developer job openings with three out of the top 10 jobs being software development positions.
Research from Adecco Middle East, one of the leading manpower agencies in the UAE, backs this up with AI and ML experts, cybersecurity specialists, and digital transformers predicted to be in the top-most in-demand jobs in the UAE this year.
“Skills and roles that could be in high demand include data science and cloud computing, AI, machine learning, digital marketing and strategy, process automation, business development, digital transformation, information security, project manager, analyst, web designers, and research analyst,” says Mayank Patel, country head, Adecco Middle East.
This increasing demand for tech roles reflects the ongoing digital transformation and the growing emphasis on data, automation and AI in the region, LinkedIn said in a press release.
Recent IDC research shows that digital transformation investment in the Middle East region is expected to more than double across the 2021-2026 period, accelerating at a CAGR of 16% over the five years, and topping US$74bn in 2026.
GCC countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE are investing heavily in Digital, with the UAE’s national digital economy set to grow US$140bn by 2031 from US$38bn today, doubling the contribution of the digital economy to the UAE’s GDP from 9.7% to over 20%, the Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy has announced.
And both countries have a clear vision for the future that points toward the development of AI-based technologies, with AI expected to become 12.4% (US$135.2bn) and 13.6% (US$96bn) of the GDP of Saudi and the UAE, respectively, by 2030, according to a PwC report.
Already, the UAE has seen a growing number of global companies in the field of cryptocurrencies and NFT expand their operations there, and the country is poised to emerge as the number one choice for global companies in the digital asset business for their global expansion, following the introduction of a new regulation for virtual assets.
While the country’s recently launched Dubai Metaverse Strategy is set to attract 1,000 companies specialising in blockchain and metaverse technologies to the region.
On the sustainability front too, both countries are pushing ahead with ambitious agendas, as the region prepares to host the second consecutive UN climate change conference – COP28 takes place in Dubai (UAE) in November following COP28 in Egypt last year.
Remote roles on the rise in the region
The LinkedIn data further shows that remote roles ae on the rise again in the region, with the UAE showing a month-on-month growth in these postings of 27.7% in December.
This marks one of the highest among the EMEA markets including the UK, which is down 1.6% and Germany, down 10.5%, and comes amid growing demand among UAE workers for flexible solutions to work.
The majority of UAE workers (66%) prefer hybrid or full-time remote work, while a third (27%) prefer working from home permanently, a new Michael Page study reveals.
“Millions of employees found themselves working from home for the first time during COVID-19 pandemic – and our survey suggests that a majority would like to continue with this arrangement,” Michael Page said.“Well over half of respondents said they would like to work remotely either some or all of the time.”