Recruiters Anticipate Law Firm Hiring Surge in Middle East – Law.com

A strong hiring and deal surge is expected in the Middle East as 2021 year-end approaches, according to global recruitment firm Robert Walters.

In its latest region market update, Robert Walters suggests the recruitment market continued its strong recovery in the first half of 2021 across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), largely on the back of the Dubai Expo 2020 and the ending of the Qatar boycott.

“There has been a welcome return to the market for almost all the U.K., U.S. and regional law firms across a broad range of sectors, with corporate lawyers being the most sought after in the UAE,” it said. 

The firm expects the end of many restrictions on foreign ownership in the UAE, a halt to the Qatar boycott, and Dubai Expo 2020, to drive demand.

“The market is awash with corporate mid-level associate roles to handle the predicted influx of investment into the region,” it said.

“Saudi Arabia has had a slower recovery due to long standing restrictions following the global pandemic. However, as these start to lift, it is clear the market will return stronger in the second half due to a number of new entrants in the market. We also saw an increase in demand for lawyers in Qatar and Oman following numerous overdue reforms in those GCC countries.”

In-house

The in-house legal recruitment market was very busy in certain sectors, it added. “Abu Dhabi has seen a major increase in legal recruitment, with new businesses entering the market and new entities being created by the government.”

Results across law firms were broadly better than expected. “Given the large amount of foreign investment currently coming into the region, along with government initiatives to increase economic activity, we can expect to see the corporate legal market continue its resurgence,” it said.

“We also expect firms to commit to long term flexibility plans for employees, to give lawyers the work-life balance they have required in the past. With all signs pointing  to a positive future for the Middle East legal market, we expect the second half of 2021 to see a strong focus on the Saudi market once again.”

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