A further 15% will be maintaining existing headcount levels and only 4% will be eliminating positions. 44% of companies will be freezing hiring – not filling vacating positions nor creating new ones – which is up from 12% six months ago.
Based on a survey of 75 chief financial officers (CFOs) and finance directors (FDs), the Robert Half Financial Hiring Index1 (the ‘Index’) finds that Dubai-based financial leaders are most bullish about their hiring plans with more than half (53%) anticipating the expansion of their finance teams compared to 22% in Abu Dhabi.
When asked what initiatives were driving hiring, more than six in 10 (64%) CFOs cited new projects and initiatives, followed by product or service expansion (57%). One in three (32%) will be entering new markets and 29% claim that business growth or expansion in both international and domestic markets, respectively, was prompting additional permanent hiring within the finance and accounting function.
Companies continue to struggle in finding skilled financial professionals, with more than half (51%) saying is it ‘somewhat challenging’ and 35% saying it is ‘very challenging’ to do so. The areas posing the greatest challenges include specialists in financial management/control (28%), accounting (27%), accounts payable/receivable (24%), tax & treasury (24%) and business/financial analysis (21%). As a result, nearly nine in 10 (87%) finance leaders are concerned about losing top performers, prompting many organisations to consider their retention strategies to keep their best and brightest on board.
James Sayer, director, Robert Half UAE said, “Strong, prudent financial management is essential in any economy, but particularly during a time when companies are focused on driving new initiatives, growth and expansion plans to gain market share. Executives looking to increase headcount to take advantage of the upswing are finding that talent shortages exist within finance and accounting. Many are therefore turning to specialised recruiters to source the hard-to-find skill sets they require.”
Finance executives remain confident about the economic prospects facing the UAE, with 72% expressing confidence, including one in five (20%) who are ‘very confident’. A further 77% are confident in the business outlook facing their companies in the latter half of the year.
Sayer continues: “Economic confidence is prompting organisations to focus on growth and many are turning to their finance departments to not only crunch the numbers but also devise strategy on finding new sources of revenue generation. Commercially-savvy accountants who can provide financial principles to operations, IT, sales and marketing departments are well positioned to help steer their organisations towards greater economic prosperity.”
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