UAE oil and gas jobs on the wane amid price rout and regional security concerns

Sep 17, 2015 12:00 AM

Recruitment is waning in the UAE’s oil and gas sector amid the oil price rout and regional security concerns, a new report says.

According to the Monster Employment Index report for last month, the index reading for online listings of oil and gas jobs in the UAE fell about 30 per cent to 73 from 103 in August last year.

In the Middle East, hydrocarbons industry job postings declined 21 per cent.

Monster, a New York-listed recruitment company, said the employment slowdown was not surprising given the global ramifications and the sector’s current hiring freeze.

“While the UAE is putting firm actions in place to manage the global crunch, I do expect that hiring recovery in this sector will require some time,” said Sanjay Modi, the regional managing director of Monster.com.

Oil prices continue to trade below US$50 per barrel, down from peaks of more than $110 last year. This has led to several companies cutting their capital expenditure, including downsizing their workforces.

Yet job cuts have not been felt as much in the Middle East as areas such as the North Sea.

Two months ago, Royal Dutch Shell said it would cut a further 6,500 jobs after its second-quarter earnings tumbled to US$3.8 billion from $6.1bn in the same period last year.

However, Shell maintained that most of the jobs cuts were in the North Sea and North America, as the Middle East remained a growth driver for Shell.

“Given the low oil prices as well as ongoing security concerns in the GCC and greater Middle East, it is unsurprising that many oil and gas companies are cutting back spending on recruitment,” said Robert Mogielnicki, a senior analyst at Oxford Strategic Consulting (OSC) in London.

Monster also expects the overall pace of hiring to slow down over the third quarter.

Mr Mogielnicki said there was no need to panic just yet. OSC research found that only 24 per cent of UAE employers preferred to use online job advertisements to fill vacancies and only 36 per cent of local job seekers preferred to apply for jobs online.

“The majority of employers, over 50 per cent, prefer instead to use recruitment fairs, while 44 per cent like to find candidates directly,” he said.

Despite this, Monster said online hiring activity exceeded last year’s level in nine of the 12 monitored categories.

Online job posting in the Middle East grew 37 per cent from last year.

And the UAE continues to lead with its year-on-year growth rate of 36 per cent when compared to other GCC countries and Egypt.

The healthcare sector leads other industries with a 44 per cent increase.

“This staggering increase truly reflects the vision of the UAE to become a hub for medical tourism, and with Dubai alone planning to attract more than 500,000 tourists by 2020, effective healthcare hiring is in demand to accommodate the emirate’s ambitious plans,” said Mr Modi.

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