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Optimism High in Dubai With Job Market Expanding and Qatar Committed to Transport Spending


Middle East : 26 April 2013

Optimism High for Dubai Economy

Consumers remain optimistic about Dubai’s economic performance for the coming year, as a vast majority of those surveyed in a recent Dubai DED survey forecasted improved job prospects.

According to the recent Consumer Confidence Survey, 90 percent reported being happy with the economic state and 95 percent of respondents expect performance to strengthen this year.

Tourism remains vibrant in Dubai, and rental figures and prices for properties have driven perceptions even higher.

Comparing the latest results to the previous survey reveals an impressive 16 percent jump in consumer confidence levels.

DED’s Director General Sami Al Qamzi noted consumers in Dubai remain confident in the region’s ability to create employment positions, drive activity within the economy and generate wealth. The emirate has made solid commitments to development, as well as to boosting Dubai’s attraction for businesses and investors.

The CCCP sector’s CEO, Omar Bu Shahab, noted that the retail sector remains sustainable, supported by healthy levels of personal finance, greater choice and enhanced customer service levels.

Major concerns noted in the recent survey include political instability across the Arab region and job security. Respondents expect greater employment prospects for the coming year, and 82 percent of those surveyed consider job prospects to be excellent or good, up from just 71 percent in the previous survey.

Increasing costs of living remain a concern for over 50 percent of those surveyed, with 31 percent of respondents planning to reduce outdoor expenses this year in order to save money. Other cost cutting measures noted in the survey include putting off tech upgrades like new cell phones and computers, reducing utility and phone bills and delaying home improvement projects.

According to UAE economist Irfan Al Hassani, increasing levels of consumer confidence prove that Dubai economy remains sound with sustainable conditions across the sectors. Al Hassani noted the improvements and called Dubai’s market progress “remarkable.”

UAE Job Market Grows as Greater Opportunities Increase Turnover

As the job market in the UAE improves, more employees are voluntarily leaving their positions. Recruitment experts expect that trend to continue.

The last few years have recorded low levels of growth in the job market. Current conditions have affected turnover and recruitment professionals note that improvements in the job market will encourage candidates considering a move, thereby increasing turnover.

More employees are expected to switch positions and companies in 2013, according to Charterhouse Partnership consultant Graham Whitworth, who also stated that businesses will increase headcounts and open more vacancies this year.

Employee and jobseeker confidence are on the rise in the UAE, with greater numbers of positions flooding the market at a sustainable pace.
More vacancies trigger higher levels of confidence, which in turn results in increased turnover and even more vacancies. Jobseekers from outside the UAE will also realize the benefits of these conditions.

REED Recruitment Manager Ash Athawale noted that a rising market makes the UAE more attractive for jobseekers currently living in the UAE and for those planning to move there. Budget approval and interviews are already happening, and changes are expected to remain well managed and more controlled than in previous years.

Surveys from earlier in 2013 gave clear indications of this trend, warning employers of the confidence levels emerging for UAE employees. According to a Bayt.com survey from December 2012 covering the MENA region, 65.3 percent of respondents were planning to switch positions this year.

Many workers around the UAE and surrounding regions stayed in their positions, often due to a lack of suitable opportunity elsewhere. Businesses were not hiring due to the slow economy and employees held on to the jobs they had secured.

As dismal economic conditions react to optimism and a healthier job market, professionals are looking to move forward and experience some change.

Whitworth notes that vacancies in local companies triggers the process, but jobseeker confidence levels ultimately drive the market. A perception of job insecurity and nervousness hold people in their positions for five years or more. As employment conditions improve, those perceptions change and candidates begin to actively seek new opportunities.

Companies are also looking for fresh talent and do not seem bothered about increasing turnover.

Recent polls suggest that UAE companies have low anxiety over staff retention. According to one poll by Zawya.com, 59 percent of UAE respondents acknowledge they will not work hard to retain staff looking to move on.

Athawale noted that the changes occurring will be managed well, without the immediate counter-offers experienced in the past.

Industry experts note that more employees are handing in their papers and that number will continue to rise this year.

Transport Placed as Top Priority in Qatar

Upgrades to the domestic transportation system in Qatar remains a top investment priority for the coming years, with $70 billion in funding already planned. Most of the infrastructure investments are found in Qatar’s metro and rail networks, with $35 billion in spending scheduled for the coming decade.

Road systems will also be modernized, with an expressway enhancement involving $20 billion in contracts.

Edmund O’Sullivan of MEED Events noted that Qatar will be transitioning in the coming decade, moving toward becoming a “highly progressive metropolis” that includes a modern transportation system. MEED Events organizes the Qatar Transport Conference, set for May 27 to 29 in Doha City.

Qatar’s master plan involves upgrades stretching across 400 to 600 kms of existing roads and costing $8 billion. Expansions in the three major Qatari ports are also part of the plan, including Doha Commercial Port, Ras Laffan City and Mesaieed City.

Delegates at the fourth annual Qatar Transport Conference in Doha City can expect to earn credits toward Continuous Professional Development, with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors holding knowledge-sharing and networking sessions.

Paul Holdsworth, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News
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