In this article I will aim to provide an honest insight into what happened in 2023 as a whole, from a finance & tax recruitment perspective, with a particular focus on Q4 and what I believe may happen in 2024.

To give an overview of what I will cover in this review, you will find:

  1. General review of 2023 from a recruitment perspective
  2. What industries & levels were hiring
  3. International relocations & placements made WITHOUT UAE experience
  4. Outlook for 2024 

End of year team Xmas Party

General review of 2023 from a finance recruitment perspective

Another year done and now time to do it all over again. 

The 2023 year was quite a challenging one from a recruitment perspective with the market correcting itself as when looking back in hindsight 2022 was such a buoyant year.

Why was this? 

  • Given there was so much hiring done in 2022 across the board naturally there were less openings available.
  • As majority of the workforce were now working it meant there were less candidates actively looking to move roles, as they had just started a role or are currently in the honeymoon phase which may last 6 to 12 months.
  • This meant there was less movement in the market, as you were waiting for someone to move roles and in turn have their seat open up to backfill their role.
  • In Q1 we felt the slow down in the market, as was reflected in our revenue, with January being our worst month of the calendar year.
  • Things picked up in February but as the UAE is quite a seasonal market, you can see with Ramadan taking place during March and April that things slowed down. However once we came out of Ramadan we had our best month of the year in May.
  • Then we came into the summer months when the schools finished which meant families went on holidays to escape the heat. This resulted in June and July being fairly slow.
  • August is a month where things get moving again with the influx if new jobseekers and with the schools restarting you have “bums on seats” for hiring managers which was reflected with solid recruitment being done in August and September.
  • We came into Q4, October was quiet but thankfully we seen a huge surge of roles in November and December which let us end the year on a positive note. 
  • As you can see from stats below, the first 3 quarters were down but the positive note for jobseekers is Q4 was 32% up on Q4 2022 and I'm confident going into Q1 2024 that the market will be more buoyant than Q1 2023 based on the teams current WIP.

Another very good indicator of how the market is really shaping up is to understand the amount of 1st round interviews happening across the business as this gives an indicator of actually how many companies are hiring.

As you can see from the above, 2023 was a lot more consistent when it came to interviews happening. 2022 really was a boom year for recruitment and this is reflected in Q1 & Q3 in particular.

We then started to see a slowdown from Q4 2022 which we felt a lot in Q1 2023. The most telling stat I have seen from the data is Q4 2023 was 46% up on first round interviews compared to Q4 2022. This can only be seen as a positive coming into 2024.

Plenty more sporting events to look forward to this year. Sign up on our community page link below

Alchemy Community Page

What industries & levels were hiring 

The below image shares a birds eye view of what industries we were hiring for throughout 2024.

Every quarter there was a new number 1 and as you will see for 3 of the 4 quarters it was "harder sectors" leading the way:

  • Manufacturing
  • Construction
  • Oil & Gas

The new player to the market in 2023 was Commodity Trading as we seen a lot businesses relocating here from Geneva & Russia in particular, which has led to a huge demand for finance & tax professionals across all levels with this industry experience.

As a business we recruit for all levels in finance & tax but we do see most our traffic come through at mid - level hiring.

International Relocation & Placements made without UAE experience 

Given there are now so many international candidates trying to secure roles in the UAE I thought getting these stats out should shed some light on the likelihood of securing a role without being on the ground. Or being on the ground without having ever worked in the UAE before.

Every Monday I will go onto LinkedIn and have hundreds of messages from candidates wanting to relocate to the UAE for their next role. If these candidates are on a notice period it will make it a lot harder to get a role here especially if you are on 3 months notice.

Of our total placements this year only 2.04% were an international relocation where the candidate would not move to Dubai without having secured a job. Whilst another situation we often see is candidates who may not be on the ground but have resigned and are booked onto a one way flight to arrive to the UAE on X date so they are clearly committed to the move.

These candidates are a lot more attractive as they can interview via MS teams before they arrive while they are serving their notice period in their home country. Once they arrive they are immediately available and are usually snapped up pretty quick as hiring companies will usually not have to pay above market rate to secure them and there is no chance of a “buy back” from their previous employer.

These such candidates accounted for 22.45% of all Alchemy's placements for 2023 predominantly from newly qualified up to 5 years PQE.

So if you are dead set on getting a role here all you have to do is look at those stats as they don't lie!

Tune into the Alchemy Uncensored podcast this year with plenty of great guests coming on board for informative discussions 

Please subscribe to our Podcasts!

Alchemy Uncensored - Youtube Podcast

Alchemy Uncensored - Spotify

Outlook for 2024

As I sit here looking into my recruitment crystal ball.....I think 2024 should be good but more so in H1 as having recruited in this market for a few years now the one thing I can say confidently is that there is no consistency to the market here. It can yo-yo so much.

As November and December just gone were very strong months I think this will result in a decent January and February.

We will then enter Ramadan in March this year which will slow things down from a recruitment perspective, meaning March and April will be slow.

However once all hiring managers are back at their desks post the long Eid al Fitr on Monday 15th April I think there will be some vented up need to get recruitment processes started again which should lead to May and first half of June being busy until the school holidays begin which curtails recruitment a bit.

Similar to this year, August onwards should be busy months for recruiting, in particular for the newly qualified who tend to arrive to the UAE as it slowly starts to cool down.

I hope you have found the article informative and helpful. Please stay connected with my team if you are looking for your next role and of course if you are looking to hire a finance or tax professional then don't hesitate to reach out to me on

Copyright Alchemy Search 2022
Site by Venn