Navigating Staff Augmentation in the Gulf: Key Expectations


Natalia Berdyeva, partner at TalentNations, offers a thorough exploration of the transforming IT landscape, driven by their immersive experience at GITEX in Dubai. Within these insights, experts not only discuss overarching industry trends but also delve into practical aspects such as the pressing demand for specialist roles, language proficiency requisites, and financial expectations. This analysis sheds light on the intricate interplay between industry dynamics and practical considerations, shaping a nuanced perspective on the evolving IT realm.

Leadership and Talent Demand

There is a noticeable trend of leaders from specific regions actively seeking specialists. For instance, companies from Pakistan, India, Africa, Russia, CIS countries, and Turkey have shown a keen interest in providing top-notch professionals through the TalentNations platform.

Specialist Roles in High Demand

We are observing a substantial demand for specialists in cloud solution implementation, Oracle, SAP, and AI. HR agency partners focused on permanent recruitment also notice market interest in project managers and security solution specialists. The demand is particularly high for roles of devOps, developers, web 3.0 (3) specialists.

Business Size and Attraction

Small to medium enterprises, especially start-ups, are the primary seekers of augmented staffing solutions.

In terms of business size, SMEs appear to be the primary seekers of augmentation, often driven by a need for agility and expertise without the long-term commitment of a full-time hire. When dissecting by business segment, the digital sector stands out. It’s no surprise given the UAE’s robust digital infrastructure, which, as Al Olama pointed out, “enhances a new culture.”

Financial Expectations

Businesses anticipate an average rate of $15-30 for augmented staff, highlighting the willingness to invest in quality talent. At GITEX inquiries and interest predominantly come from the upper echelons of the corporate world, including CEOs and CTOs, underlining the strategic importance of staff augmentation.

As for the experience of our platform, the average hourly rates for IT specialists with 3-5 years of experience across the top five roles in all regional countries range from $20 to $50. Junior/Junior+ roles can expect an average rate of $10 – $15 per hour, Middle/Middle+ roles can command $20 – $40 per hour, Senior roles range from $40 to $70 per hour, and Lead roles range from $70 to $100 per hour. As of now, the platform’s highest paid specialists include Data Analysts, DevOps Engineers, and Oracle solution specialists. Those with significant international experience can expect between $70 and $100 per hour.

Balancing Remote and Onsite Work

 While the tech sector is more open to remote engagements, other sectors like Gov or Finance still prefer onsite roles. However, a balance is sought, depending on the nature of the work and the required skills.

At a Remote Forum event in Dubai, Omar Al Olama, Minister of State for Digital Economy, AI, and Remote Working System, underscored that “remote work is now a main way of work and not an option.” He further highlighted that almost 46% of the UAE’s workforce were operating remotely, referencing data from the UK research company, YouGov.

Diverse Talent and Language Proficiency

In recent years, the Gulf region has witnessed a paradigm shift in workforce dynamics. Organizations are increasingly veering away from traditional employment models, leaning towards more flexible, skill-specific hiring practices. Staff augmentation has emerged as a practical solution, enabling companies to tap into a global talent pool, precisely when and where needed. This model is not just a stop-gap; it’s a strategic choice for businesses looking to stay agile and competitive.

Remote work preferences differ based on tasks and roles. Certain roles, especially those requiring intricate teamwork or sensitive data handling, might still favor onsite presence. Yet, the overarching trend leans towards a blend, balancing remote and onsite modalities. On the language front, proficiency in English is paramount, followed by Arabic.

Navigating Challenges

The journey is not without its hurdles. Clients have shared experiences of being misled about the proficiency levels of potential hires, emphasizing the need for transparency and due diligence in the staff augmentation process.

The future of work in the Gulf is undeniably leaning towards more remote and flexible models. Staff augmentation plays a critical role in this transition, offering businesses the agility and access to global talent that they need to thrive.