Dubai: Recruiting doctors at affordable salary packages will be the biggest challenge healthcare operators in the UAE and Gulf are facing, according to Dr. Azad Moopen, Chairman and Managing Director of Aster DM Healthcare.
“We are witnessing an increasing preference among healthcare professionals to opt for the US or UK that offer higher salary packages and perks,” said Dr. Moopen. “This is putting significant pressure as it is also not easy to bring in new staff due to travel restrictions from many countries. These factors are leading to a crunch in an already limited talent pool.
“While every year there is an increase in salary costs, this is the first time that we are witnessing such huge increases.”
Plus, there is the demand for their services within the home countries, and with compensations that can match up to what they might be offered in the Gulf. “Countries like India - from where a majority of healthcare professionals arrive in the UAE - have been facing a major upsurge in the demand for talented healthcare professionals due to COVID-19,” said the chairman of Aster, one of the biggest privately-owned hospital and pharmacy operators in these markets.
A sudden and sharp spike in personnel costs could undermine prospects for the local healthcare market, which is still nursing its way back into financial health after the COVID-19 strike. While all attention was being paid to contain the pandemic, hospitals and clinics in the UAE and Gulf had seen a drastically reduced in-patient visits and elective surgeries take place for four to five months last year. A recovery from those lost revenues will take time.
It is against this backdrop that the rise in salaries and incentives for healthcare professionals should be seen. The competition for talent and experience is acute, both from within the region and from outside. Any new specialty hospital opening anywhere in the UAE and or Gulf represents an opportunity for doctors to seek better terms – and for the existing healthcare operators to try and fill a position that suddenly fell vacant.