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Massive Job Fair Draws Attention in the UAE with Abu Dhabi Economic Activities Surpassing Dh 1 Trillion and Dubai Considering Fewer Foreign Investor Restrictions

Middle East : 01 February 2013

Tawdheef Recruitment Show Creates Hope for Job Seekers in the UAE

Open to both residents and UAE nationals, this three-day recruitment show ran from Tuesday to Thursday of this week and included major corporations and businesses looking to fill thousands of positions.

Although some attendees were confident that job offers would be handed out at the show, organizers of the exhibition noted that the goal of the Tawdheef Recruitment Show is to connect companies with job seekers. Instant job offers were rare.

Interviews were conducted on site, as employers sought to collect information regarding applicants. Some attendees will receive invitations to the second recruitment phase, and each of the exhibitors has unique processes for recruiting employees, according to the exhibition director Hayete Jemai.

Organizers refused to state opening salaries of positions offered at Tawdheef, noting that participants dictate those details.

Jemai also noted that this recruitment show is geared for employees of all levels, from fresh college graduates to experienced senior staff. At least 2,500 positions were posted on the official event website and the show is expected to draw around 12,000 attendees looking for work.

Companies exhibiting at the Tawdheef Recruitment Show include Oasis Hospital searching for anesthesia techs and optometrists, Petrofac hiring for civil and chemical engineers and General Holding Corporation on the look out for HSE coordinators and electrical engineers. Other exhibitors include National Bank of Abu Dhabi, the local police, the Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Etihad Airways and Abu Dhabi Airports Company.

Economic Activities Surpass Dh 1 Trillion in Abu Dhabi

The gross output of economic activity in Abu Dhabi went above Dh 1 trillion in 2011, hitting a new record for the emirate, according to recent data from the Statistics Centre Abu Dhabi (or SCAD).

Mining and quarry work made up 41.7 percent of the overall gross economic output.

Economic activity rose by 29.9 percent in 2011, reaching a total of Dh 1,068.4 billion.

SCAD released a statement noting that the increase proved Abu Dhabi’s economy remains stable and robust, holding onto a substantial competitive edge over other economies both in the region and around the world, and appealing to investors at home and abroad.

Economist Mohammad Amerah spoke about the SCAD data and noted that Abu Dhabi leads economic growth in the UAE, which is also growing quickly overall. Every economic sector is experiencing this growth, from services to commodities, according to Amerah.

Amerah stated that growth in 2012 is expected to meet or exceed the Dh 1 trillion seen in 2011.

Most of the economic activity involved quarrying and mining (41.7 percent), although manufacturing made up 16.6 percent and construction accounted for 15.6 percent of total activity.

Activities in the construction sector accounted for 23.4 percent of the total remuneration paid in Abu Dhabi, while manufacturing took care of 11.1 percent of the total wages paid.

Overall, Abu Dhabi’s total wages rose by 7 percent in 2011, reaching Dh 108.37 billion.

According to SCAD, growth in the gross fixed capital formation for Abu Dhabi’s total economic activity equaled 10 percent y-o-y in 2011, climbing to Dh 123.98 billion.

Foreign Investment Restrictions in Dubai Could Be Loosened

In a bid to attract more investors, Dubai may change the rules regarding foreign investment and allow citizens of certain Arab nations to open businesses with foreign partners and without domestic investors.

The DED (or Department of Economic Development) has brought together a committee charged with studying applications from citizens of the GCC, with the goal of determining the value each project delivers to the Dubai economy.

Current restrictions state that foreign investors must remain minority stakeholders and a local partner must be involved, unless the company is located in a “free zone.” Full ownership by foreign investors is allowed in free zones.

These more flexible rules could create substantial economic reforms in Dubai, allowing foreign investors to work with partners from any GCC nation, instead of limiting these investors to partnerships with the small number of UAE citizens who have the ability to invest.

The GCC includes several oil exporting nations from the Gulf region, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

After a corporate debt crisis hit Dubai in 2008 and stretched to 2010, the property market collapsed. Now the emirate is looking to attract greater levels of foreign capital. Another initiative came out earlier in January, involving Islamic finance and Islamic business regulations that would help Dubai become a regional hub for these services.

Confirmation of how actively the new policy will be applied could not be obtained from government sources yet, and the new regulations may conflict with national rules currently in place in the UAE.

Legislation allowing foreign ownership in companies outside of the free zones has been moving through the central government for years. However, recent comments by Minister of the Economy Sultan bin Saeed al-Mansouri indicate that such legislation has not made it through the Federal National Council debate or the cabinet.

Based on official data, a total of $4.5 billion in spending on foreign direct investments was announced between January and June of 2012, representing a 7 percent increase over the previous year.

Paul Holdsworth, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News
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