finance executives will maintain or increase current staff levels over next six months --> Senior executives plan to increase or maintain current staff levels over the next six months finds new research from Robert Half UAE . Professionals across both the accounting and finance profession as well as the financial services industry will see strong job prospects as senior executives in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are confident about the job market. Accounting and finance hiring Hiring within accounting and finance will remain buoyant in the first half of 2014, with nearly four in 10 (37 per cent) CFOs expecting hiring increases and over half (56 per cent) filling vacated positions. The key driver for hiring for accounting and finance professionals will be new projects / initiatives (57 per cent), followed by product or service expansion (54 per cent) and domestic business growth (43 per cent). Optimism in the business climate is varied, with more than seven in 10 (72 per cent) executives confident in the UAE's domestic growth prospects when compared to last year, and 28 per cent who are uncertain or not confident. Looking at their own company's projections, three in four (76 per cent) are confident – suggesting a firm's own combination of strategies, leadership and procedures can offset other macroeconomic factors. Gareth El Mettouri, Associate Director, Robert Half UAE said, "The UAE has enjoyed a period of substantial business growth with higher oil prices and increased government spending into regional infrastructure fuelling expansion efforts. While some business leaders are entering 2014 with an air of caution, it is not taking away from the strong hiring prospects we are seeing across the region as companies continue to be challenged in finding skilled professionals and look to expatriate talent to fill the gap." Financial services hiring Looking at hiring within financial services, one in three (33 per cent) senior leaders plan to recruit new permanent staff in the first half of 2014, with a further 60 per cent maintaining current levels. With a mere 7 per cent planning to freeze staffing levels by not filling vacated positions and not creating new ones, there are no companies looking to make redundancies. When asked for the top three reasons behind planned increases in the number of permanent financial services professionals, more than seven in 10 (72 per cent) selected new projects / initiatives as their top priority for hiring. This was followed by product or service expansion (56 per cent) and new market penetration (48 per cent). El Mettouri continues: "Many firms have found it challenging to maintain a consistent recruitment process. Demand outweighs supply, and additional job creation has resulted in many firms looking to attract top talent from competing businesses or overseas. The most sought-after candidates are attending numerous interviews and, in some cases, receiving multiple offers. There has been a re-emergence of individuals accepting last-minute counteroffers in a bid to retain talent."
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