By:Justin McGuire, CEO and Co-Founder of MCG Talent

What does the talent market look like in the Middle East in 2024? Well, that’s a complex question.

Having been in the recruitment industry in this region since 2008, I have seen a lot of changes, especially in talent trends and demands over the years, and 2024 is shaping up to be one of the most interesting years so far.

Remote and hybrid working is here to stay

Since the world stood still in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, the way we all work has changed forever. The desire for flexibility is here to stay and remote working has become the norm rather than the unusual.

In 2023, we saw a massive pushback from candidates when pitching roles that require 5 days in the office, with flexibility outweighing increased salaries in many cases. In 2024 I anticipate we will see this more and more, as work-life balance becomes increasingly desirable, especially in younger generations like Gen Z and Alpha.

Soft skills are in high demand

The world of work in the Middle East is fast and dynamic, and to match that environment we are seeing that soft skills are in high demand. Individuals who can adapt quickly and easily, are assets to businesses in the region. We have seen a definite shift away from university degrees being the most important requirement for employers, to skills taking precedent.

This is especially true in more technical roles, where the need for strong communication skills has increased. Soft skills are also essential when it comes to remote workforces, where in the virtual working world communication and collaboration skills are vital to the success of teams and projects.

Employee retention

When it comes to employee retention in 2024, new approaches are going to be needed by employers. The Middle East is quite a transactional market, and we often see MarComms talent move around from agency to agency.

One of the reasons for this is a distinct lack of employee value propositions (EVP) in this region.

Culture, benefits, career progression are key to retaining your top talent. I would advise companies to think about what makes your business a desirable place to work, and how you communicate that to your team.

A clear, documented, and well-communicated EVP is your golden ticket to make sure you retain your best talent in 2024.

Salaries in the UAE and KSA

The UAE talent market shows distinct differences between Abu Dhabi, the capital, and Dubai, the most populous city when it comes to salary.

The influx of international talent into Dubai has stabilised salaries due to increased competition for roles. On the other hand, Abu Dhabi has a higher demand for skilled talent, particularly in communications and technology, resulting in a surge in salaries for certain roles.

When it comes to KSA, what we are seeing is a competitive battleground for talent, with increased demand across all sectors.

Given the intense competition for skilled talent at the mid to senior level and the kingdom’s Saudization policies, I anticipate overall salary growth this year and the intensity of the battle for top talent to increase throughout 2024.

Our MCG Talent Recruitment Market guide has salary benchmarks for each role in the MarComms space to support employers and talent in this space.

MarComms Recruitment in 2024


In 2023, the creative industry witnessed a rollercoaster ride, navigating uncertainties and challenges that significantly impacted market stability.

However, there is an expectation in the market for a rebound in 2024. Notably, Saudi has emerged as a new hotspot for creative talent, with relaxations in advertising laws driving the need for skilled individuals in this market.

What we can see when it comes to talent in this space is thatthere is a desire from candidates to work in organisations that offer meaningful experiences, showcase a clear path for career growth and offer a robust work environment.


In 2024, the UAE and KSA’s marketing job market is set for significant growth, especially in digital marketing. Following a 9% increase in jobs in the UAE in late 2023, I expect the trend will continue into 2024, however, for candidates in this space,there is still going to be stiff competition, as we see an influx of international talent relocating to the region.

PR & Communications:

In 2024 I think there will be a continued increased desire in the PR & Communications space for both regional experience and Arabic language skills.

Unlike last year, where it was the norm to look outside the region for talent, the search has turned inward as the experience within the region is highly valued, especially at mid and junior levels, with employers now emphasising the need for professionals with a deep understanding of the local landscape.

Key takeaway

As we traverse the complexities of the talent market in 2024, one thing is certain – adaptability and a keen understanding of regional dynamics will be paramount for both employers and candidates seeking success in this evolving professional landscape.

For employers, hiring is your most critical task – choose the best, and never compromise. The success of your team hinges on the talent you bring on board. In 2024, make every hire count; it’s not just about filling a position but sculpting the future of your organisation.

Justin McGuire

CEO and Co-Founder of MCG Talent