Job risk for UAE real estate and banking workers

Dubai and Abu Dhabi workers face uncertain times in some sectors

Although recent data indicates that UAE GDP will grow by more than expected this year, firms in some sectors are still downsizing their workforce, local recruiters are warning.

“People are still laying off staff - I wouldn’t want to say which companies, but yes, it’s happening in Abu Dhabi as well as Dubai. I think it’s still happening in real estate, and it’s still happening with some of the international banks,” Jennifer Campori, managing director of Middle East and Europe for Charterhouse, told Arabian Business.

“I still think the real estate industry has a long way to go before there are definite signs of recovery there – whether that be Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Qatar. But the commerce and industry sectors are definitely recruiting, and we’re starting to see signs of the banking industry and the financial guys coming together.”

Other recruitment experts agreed that the financial services and real estate sectors were still taking the brunt of staff cuts, although there was general agreement that numbers had tailed off significantly since last year.

“We're not seeing large teams of people registering with us from any particular sector, which is a positive sign,” said Mark Houghton, director of executive roles at Michael Page’s UAE division.

“But we're hearing that lay-offs are still happening within the property sector and there seems to be a little bit of fall out in banking, which has been part caused by mergers. There’s definitely been no mass exodus.”

On the more positive side, Houghton said that while front-office banking was still suffering, he had seen a lot more demand for back-office financial expertise, including accounting and auditing.

“Another major area is that of executive recruitment - there's a strong appetite to bring in people at CFO level and taking a fresh blood approach. Many people in the downturn perhaps didn't manage to prove themselves in the way they should have done and those people have been replaced,” the Michael Page director stated.

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