Hiring in the UAE: top skills in demand for 2024 by sector

By Robert Half on 8th March 2024

Are you and your teams equipped with the skills needed to succeed in 2024? With a global skills shortage still ongoing, workers and employers struggle to keep up with the training necessary to gain a competitive advantage. Expert insight from the UAE hiring market is one of the fastest ways to target your training efforts.

Our UAE recruitment experts have compiled this quick-glance guide to help you identify which in-demand skills to learn this year or how to train and develop your teams. You can also use the information for talent management purposes — all data has been taken from our 2024 Salary Guide. It analyses starting salaries across more than 100 professional services roles in the UAE and combines them with insights from our local recruitment team.

Skills in demand in the UAE: decoding the hiring landscape

There are two main factors influencing the UAE hiring market in 2024. The first is the influx of expat talent into the UAE hiring market, as workers attempt to swap Europe’s uncertain economic situation in favour of the UAE's high standard of living. Unfortunately, many of these expat candidates haven't secured a role before moving, creating a low-competition market as they accept lower starting salaries in exchange for work visas.

The second factor influencing the UAE hiring market is the cost of living, which is steadily creeping up, with salary increases trailing behind. Although many workers are happy to stay where they are, our data shows that 69% are prepared to leave their jobs before the end of 2024 if it means securing a bigger salary or better benefits.

The job market may be rapidly filling with candidates, but employers still need help finding and keeping talent with the skills their teams need. As a result, HR salaries are increasing as employers focus on talent management to develop the perks and benefits that could help them manage rising living costs.

Read more: What’s on the cards for UAE recruitment in 2024?

Top skills in demand for the UAE per sector

Finance and accounting

  1. Enterprise resource planning (ERP)
  2. Excel (high-level)
  3. Financial modeling
  4. Data room management
  5. IPO and corporate listings

Businesses are focusing on margin growth in 2024, prompting demand for treasury experts with solid asset management skills. Employers are looking for talent with excellent strategic and analytical skills to take advantage of market conditions and harness new opportunities.

Accountants with experience in loans, mergers, acquisitions, and raising debt will be in high demand for the next twelve months as businesses face rising interest rates and a more risk-averse market.

IT and technology

  1. Oracle Fusion
  2. Java
  3. Python
  4. Test automation

A surge in business growth has driven demand for tech talent with skills that contribute to quick and effective scaling. For this reason, candidates with ERP rollout experience, project management (predominantly end-to-end delivery), and IT backgrounds are in hot demand. Talent with experience in eCommerce, SAP and Oracle Fusion will find themselves in exceptionally high demand this year.

Because demand is so high for senior leaders, talent with leadership-adjacent soft skills have a strong chance of securing their top pick of roles. Excellent communication skills, stakeholder management, and people management are also at the top of hiring wish lists this year.

Admin, HR, and office support

  1. Human resources information system (HRIS)
  2. Compensation and benefits management
  3. Budgeting
  4. Microsoft 365
  5. Data analytics

The increased focus on talent management means demand for skilled HR professionals is high. Candidates with business partnering capabilities and experience with compensation and benefits are incredibly sought after.

Employers want HR and admin talent with soft skills in employee relations and recruitment to support good talent management. Organisational skills, project management, and stakeholder management are considered some of the top soft skills in demand for 2024.


  1. Contract negotiation
  2. Litigation
  3. Drafting (Arabic)
  4. Tax experience
  5. GCE experience

The best salaries are going to legal talent fluent in Arabic and English as more organisations seek to reduce overheads from external document translation services. Bilingual lawyers are also top-rated candidates with oil and gas companies and family-owned businesses.

The introduction of corporate tax in the UAE is causing a surge in demand for legal tax experience. Regarding soft skills, employers are looking for legal professionals with stakeholder management skills, persuasive communication, and excellent time management.

Financial services

  1. ACAMS (compliance)
  2. ACCA (accountancy)
  3. Financial modeling
  4. Fund performance analysis
  5. M&A experience

Investment approaches have shifted in the UAE, causing government and family offices to hunt for FS professionals with experience in sovereign wealth and private wealth fund investments.

Brokers and private bankers can leverage their strong relationships to gain employment opportunities in the UAE. Professionals with accounting and compliance specialisms can capitalise on the competitive corporate service provider market to request a higher salary.


To learn more about salaries and the most in-demand skills for the future, download your free copy of the UAE 2024 Salary Guide here. Visit the Robert Half advice blog for more career development or hiring and talent management information.

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