Healthcare jobs boom: UAE hospitals hiring at record pace with rising salaries

Demand for healthcare professionals will sustain as UAE sees more hospitals opening

Recruitment in the UAE healthcare sector has been seeing one of the fastest growth rates in the last 5 years, and with salary increases and incentives to match, according to industry sources.

A lot of the new hiring has been for upcoming hospitals and facilities opening over the next 2 years, with preference for those who already have experience working in the UAE or Gulf. The jobs getting filled extend to all categories, with sizable demand for specialists in mental health services.

“Nurses’ salaries appear to have risen above market rates,” said Nikhil Nanda, Director of the HR consultancy Innovations Group. “And those in mental health and counseling services can command much better packages than what they could.

“The requests for new staff vary in size and come from established long-term clients and new facilities preparing to open. It can range from one or two nurses to 100 doctors at any given time.

“We have to manage a tricky balancing act maintaining a healthy local pipeline of candidates already in the UAE with license eligibility while always looking overseas to expand our network reach.

“The candidate talent pool is much shallower and more competitive.”

Quite a transformation on hiring

Everything related to healthcare sector needs has dramatically transformed since 2020, with the Covid pandemic being the main catalyst. At the time it was felt the UAE had sufficient capacity by way of hospitals, clinics and specialist facilities to take care of population needs. Also, during this period, two of the biggest private hospital operators in the country were also busy with financial restructuring and mapping out their immediate priorities.

“Things started to change from mid-2023, when there was a slight pickup in healthcare hiring,” said a top official at a leading hospital. “New hospitals had opened in 2022 and2023, and suddenly the market saw a lot of movements of doctors and nursing staff, which meant there had to be new recruitments.”

It did not end there: the UAE is now seeing a significant increase in new healthcare spending for the next set of facilities that its growing population requires.

According to Dr. Raza Siddiqui, Executive Director at RAK Hospital, the UAE will require another 1,500-2,000 hospital beds over the next two to three years. “With mandatory health insurance for residents in the Northern Emirates starting in 2025, a significant shift from government to private sector healthcare is expected,” said Dr. Siddiqui. “Moreover, the UAE receives around 2,000 medical tourists annually.

“As better healthcare infrastructure and cost efficiencies are being developed, the UAE could attract more of the 6,000 patients who currently transit through Dubai airport daily en route to other destinations.

“Quality recruitment of healthcare professionals is a challenge, but I think it is becoming easier because of the entire ecosystem in the UAE. People are actively recruiting…”

How have salaries fared?

Again, regarding remunerations, UAE healthcare sector has been recording some sizeable increases. This too is markedly different to what was happening between 2020-22, ‘when take-home packages were getting trimmed and hospital operators were making extra demands on their doctors to generate more revenue per person,” said an industry consultant.

Now, the pressures are still there, but pay scales have risen well above inflation-linked costs.

“Salary thresholds for new hires have increased,” said Malvika Varma, Head of HR at Prime Healthcare Group, which is building a hospital specializing in heart, lung and oncology care in Dubai.

“Healthcare organizations are offering competitive salary packages to attract and retain talent. Our current projects include the development of new clinics, specialized healthcare centers, and the expansion of existing facilities to cater to the growing population and increasing demand for quality healthcare services in the UAE.”

Source: gulfnews

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