UAE Companies to Increase Financial Headcount

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Dubai-based organisations anticipate the strongest hiring.
New projects and business expansion prompting recruitment plans.
Financial leaders challenged in recruiting and retaining top financial talent.

Nearly 4 in 10 UAE Companies Plan to Increase Financial Headcount in the Next 6 Months
Nearly 4-in-10 UAE Companies Plan to Increase Financial Headcount in the Next 6 Months

Nearly four-in-ten (37%) UAE Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) will be expanding their finance departments in the second half of 2013 compared to 35 percent in the first six months, says research from the specialist financial recruiter, Robert Half UAE. A further 15 percent will be maintaining existing headcount levels and only 4 percent expect to eliminate positions. Forty-four percent of companies will freeze hiring (not filling vacating positions nor creating new ones) which is up from 12 percent 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 the most bullish about their hiring plans with more than half (53%) anticipating the expansion of their finance teams compared to 22 percent in Abu Dhabi.

75 CFOs/FDs in Dubai and Abu Dhabi were asked;

“What are your company’s hiring plans for permanent accounting and finance professionals in the second half of 2013?”

Nearly 4 in 10 UAE Companies Plan to Increase Financial Headcount in the Next 6 Months
Nearly 4-in-10 UAE Companies Plan to Increase Financial Headcount in the Next 6 Months

When asked what initiatives were driving hiring, more than sixty percent (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  percent 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 ninety percent of 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; “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.” — James Sayer, director, Robert Half UAE

Finance executives remain confident about the economic prospects facing the UAE, with 72 percent expressing confidence, including one-in-five (20%) who are ‘very confident’. A further 77 percent are confident in the business outlook facing their companies in the latter half of the year.

James Sayer; “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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