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UAE Companies Facing Talent Shortage, Reveals Survey

According to a new poll commissioned by Zurich International Life, UAE companies have a substantial skills shortage, particularly in critical roles.

A new survey commissioned by Zurich International Life in the Middle East and conducted by Radius Insights reveals that UAE companies grapple with a significant talent shortage, particularly in essential roles, with sales and marketing facing the most pronounced challenges. 

The survey, which interviewed 2,507 respondents in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, highlights a growing awareness among employers about the impending impact of the talent deficit on their business operations.

Key Findings:

  1. Talent Shortage Trends: The survey indicates that 24 percent of UAE employers are experiencing a talent shortage with essential skill sets needed for key positions. In comparison, Saudi Arabia faces a 30 percent shortage. These scarcities are most apparent in both countries’ operations and logistics sectors, with the UAE additionally facing challenges in customer service roles.
  2. Impact on Business Operations: Most employers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia acknowledge the medium to substantial impact this talent shortage will have on their business operations.
  3. Future Talent Shortage: The survey underscores that UAE employers anticipate the continued impact of talent shortage in the future, particularly in the finance and tourism/hospitality sectors.
  4. SME Concerns: Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) express a higher impact of talent shortage in the UAE.


  1. The UAE has introduced a range of initiatives and visas to attract international talent, including freelancers, retirees, remote workers, and the Golden Visa for 100,000 coders.
  2. The talent shortage extends to operations and logistics, data security, IT, data science, manufacturing and production, and customer services.
  3. Workforce supply and preparing for the skills needed in the future, especially amid the rise of artificial intelligence, present complex challenges.
  4. Sectors like tourism, hospitality, and travel have seen a surge in job opportunities since the pandemic, contributing to the talent shortage.

Expert Insights:

Ted Raffoul, the Career and Workforce Products Business Leader for Mena at Mercer, highlighted the challenge of understanding future skills requirements and workforce supply. 

He also emphasized the potential impact of AI on specific job roles.

As UAE companies strive to bridge the talent gap, they must address evolving skill demands and work towards strategies for a sustainable talent pipeline.

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