The booming hotel industry is driving the country's jobs market as operators race to increase capacity ahead of the Expo 2020.
Online recruitment activity in the hospitality and tourism sector rose 34 per cent year on year in the U.A.E., as a spate of new hotel construction ahead of the Expo creates demand for new workers, according to data from Monster, the recruitment website.
Recruitment for the hospitality industry is now growing faster than in any other sector.One of the groups in hiring mode is Hong Kong's Mandarin Oriental hotel, due to launch in Dubai in 2017. The company will enter the Arabian Gulf region for the first time with a 200-room luxury property on Jumeirah Beach Road near the Burj Al Arab.
"We have three colleagues to one room, so we expect to hire at least 600 people for the hotel,” said Christoph Mares, who manages the company's Middle East business.
Starwood, one of the largest hotel operators in the world, is scheduled to open 10 properties in the U.A.E. through the first half of 2017. These include W Abu Dhabi, expected in 2016, W Dubai on The Palm in 2017, and Aloft Sharjah in 2016. Across its 22 properties in the U.A.E., the company currently has openings for 377 people.
In Dubai alone, the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing expects at least 139 establishments, including 91 hotels and 48 hotel apartments, to come to the market through 2016. The current supply is 88,680 rooms across 634 establishments.
The number of hospitality job vacancies in the region increased to 61,000 last year, up from 18,000 in 2009, according to the first Hospitality Employment Index from the online jobs portal Catererglobal.com. The sector employed 291,500 people last year in the U.A.E..
Occupancy rates at Aldar's portfolio of Abu Dhabi hotels rose to 82 per cent from 78 per cent last year, as leisure tourism to the emirate increased.
The country's retail sector is also benefiting from the uptick in tourism.
Employment in customer service grew rapidly this year, according to data from Monster, with demand for employees in retail growing 26 per cent year on year.
Dubai's retail sector grew at an annualised rate of 4.1 per cent in the first three months of the year, according to the Dubai Statistics Centre.
Overall recruitment activity increased 26 per cent across the U.A.E., according to Monster,
Meanwhile, pay packets are also growing.
Average salaries for U.A.E. employees are predicted to grow at 4.8 per cent next year, faster than actual average salary increases of 4.6 per cent this year, according to data from the employment consultancy Aon Hewitt.
But with annual inflation running at about 3.5 per cent in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, pay increases may feel muted.
Salaries across the Gulf are expected to increase by 5.1 per cent in 2015, slightly higher than the average increase of 4.9 per cent for this year.
Data from Monster's Employment Index was gathered by reviewing a sample of online recruitment websites. Aon Hewitt's Global Salary Increase Survey covers about 13,000 employers in 120 countries.
Source: The National