The network of LinkedIn was launched in 2003. In continues to attract potential employees and employers from all over the world. In the UAE, big international companies and small offices use LinkedIn to find talented and skilled professionals. Potential employees in the UAE prefer using LinkedIn; many of them are young adults who have just begun their careers. LinkedIn is used by millions of citizens in the UAE, and the amount of members from this country is constantly growing.
The use of social media as a tool for a job search has been progressively used by modern users in the past decade. A similar trend can be noticed in the UAE, where users prefer using various social media, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and MySpace. However, if such social networks as Facebook or Twitter are usually used to communicate with friends and relatives, LinkedIn is considered to be a network where business relations also take place. Its main advantages include the opportunities the website provides for job seekers, as well as the big amount of top companies’ profiles that prefer to look for new employees online.
LinkedIn was launched in 2003. Today, more than four hundred million users are registered on the social network. LinkedIn’s main difference from other social networks is that it is employment-oriented (Kannan, Menezes & McKechnie 2010). It offers users various tools for the job search, e.g. adding the resume, connecting to people employed at certain companies to obtain information about the possible employment, follow companies, and bookmark jobs they going to apply for or find interesting.
As to UAE, the first office of LinkedIn was opened in Dubai in the year 2012. According to LinkedIn management, one million of the users were residing in the UAE (Valdini 2012, para. 3). According to the newer data, 2.49 million (24%) citizens of UAE are members of LinkedIn (UAE social media statistics 2015 2015, para. 2).
LinkedIn as a Tool
Because LinkedIn targets a specific market and is similar to a (web) conference between employees and employers from various companies, it attracts the attention of skilled professional employees and (international) employers who seek for qualified personnel. LinkedIn also offers a pay version where potential employees can receive messages about possible places of employment they might find interesting (Kannan, Menezes & McKechnie 2010).
In the UAE, LinkedIn is more popular than Twitter: 12% of the population prefers using this website instead of the other network (3% of the population in the UAE use Twitter) (Social media usage in the Middle East – statistics and trends [infographic] 2013). According to the LinkedIn statistics, the number of employees who identify themselves as entrepreneurs in the UAE and use the network has almost doubled in 2016 (UAE preferred destination for entrepreneurs: LinkedIn 2016). Moreover, the UAE is a desirable destination for LinkedIn members who identify themselves with entrepreneurship in different industries, e.g. technology and software, retail, healthcare, etc. (UAE preferred destination for entrepreneurs: LinkedIn 2016).
However, LinkedIn has also helped its members to find a job in smaller companies in the UAE: the number of employees who specified that they were working in companies with 200 employees or fewer has increased by ten percent this year (UAE preferred destination for entrepreneurs: LinkedIn 2016). Many large and respected companies in the UAE begin cooperation with LinkedIn to seek for investors, professionals, employees. For example, the Dubai Airport Freezone Authority formed an alliance with LinkedIn to connect with the members of the network and attract new investors and professionals who will work in Human Capital and Sales (DAFZA and LinkedIn join hands 2016).
It is not the first collaboration between LinkedIn and companies in the UAE. For example, in 2015 LinkedIn conducted ‘LinkedIn Talent Awards’ in Dubai where 700 organizations participated in competing in “employer branding in the MENA region” (Alshaya wins LinkedIn’s best talent acquisition team award in MENA 2015). As the winner had stated, the company used LinkedIn to attract talented, skilled, and promising candidates.
Another prominent company, Al-Futtaim (business conglomerate), has stated that 53% of Al-Futtaim’s employees have used LinkedIn during their recruitment at the company (Al-Futtaim increases investment in recruiting through LinkedIn 2015). In 2015, the number of followers Al-Futtaim had on their LinkedIn page was 140.000 members (Al-Futtaim increases investment in recruiting through LinkedIn 2015). Thus, as the presence of the respected companies in the network grows, more and more members and potential employees prefer using LinkedIn instead of other resources and websites.
The reason behind such overwhelming popularity of LinkedIn among employees is that the companies put effort into attracting more professionals and companies from all over the world. However, it also offers a creative approach to recruitment: in 2013, LinkedIn allowed students who were 13 years old or older to put their CV on the website and connect with other professionals (Kapur 2013).
According to the network’s representative, this campaign was launched specifically for pre-university students who will make decisions about their future careers quite soon. As the new members were minors, the default settings for them were different, and the students could always find contacts of the Family Centre on LinkedIn’s page if they had difficulties with the network content. Thus, the company has encouraged members of the younger generation to think about how they are going to start their careers during or after their studies at university.
The potential employee can find various offers from different companies in the UAE, including Emirates, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, American University of Sharjah, and international corporate giants such as Google, Facebook, and others.
In 2015, the network launched its Arabic version at the company’s office in Abu Dhabi. This decision has strengthened the communication and cooperation between Arabic members of LinkedIn in the UAE, as well as other Arabic speaking countries and areas. All members of LinkedIn who used the English version of the website could switch easily to the Arabic one. Through these modifications, LinkedIn increased the usability of the website for those employees who did not speak English but wanted to join the network. The representatives of the companies in the UAE had noticed that the number of details presented in the profile, how often it was updated, what multimedia content could be found on those pages were especially important for employers.
As the UAE Expo 2020 will take place in Abu Dhabi, 200.000 workplaces were created and offered through LinkedIn, providing career opportunities for Abu Dhabi and the UAE citizens.
LinkedIn is one of the main networks for a successful job search in the UAE. Hundreds of companies and brands offer career opportunities for UAE citizens. Representatives of younger generations (13-16 y.o.) and young adults (20-25 y.o.) also prefer using LinkedIn as a job search tool.
The recommendations for the company would be the following: to continue working with corporate giants and attract new investors who are prominent in Abu Dhabi and other cities in the UAE; promote the network among adults and senior citizens who are experienced workers; open new offices in other cities in the UAE; improve the usability of the network for people who are not familiar with this type of job searching tools; increase presence of advertisements in Abu Dhabi and other cities.
Al-Futtaim increases investment in recruiting through LinkedIn 2015. Web.
Alshaya wins LinkedIn’s best talent acquisition team award in MENA 2015. Web.
DAFZA and LinkedIn join hands 2016. Web.
Kannan, S, Menezes, G & McKechnie, D 2010, Social networking sites in the UAE emerging market: in pursuit of knowledge about users. Web.
Kapur, S 2013, LinkedIn opens up to 13-year-old UAE students. Web.
Social media usage in Middle East – statistics and trends [infographic] 2013. Web.
UAE social media statistics 2015. 2015. Web.
Valdini, C 2012, LinkedIn opens first MENA office in Dubai. Web.
This report on LinkedIn as a Job Tool in the UAE