Where are the jobs?
The Dubai government has clarified that while people are leaving the city because of the economic slowdown, many more are coming in. So, are they finding jobs?
February 9, 2009 11:39 by Aarti Nagraj
The number of working visas being issued in Dubai remains a net positive figure, said Raed Safadi the chief economist in the Dubai government during a recent International Monetary Fund meeting in the city.
“Yes, we have cancelled a lot [of visas], but at the same time a lot have been issued,” he said. “While there were around 1,500 [employment and residence] visa cancelations per day in Dubai in January 2009, more than 2,000 visas were also issued – we’re on the upside.”
Safadi did admit that government data was not readily accessible, blaming it on the lack of the right mechanisms to produce the data. “On a daily basis, we do not have the means to actually tell you that there are 500 new jobs being created in such and such sectors.”
It is exactly this data that is essential.
The real estate sector is laying off people mercilessly: Officially, Nakheel has cut 500 jobs; 250 people have been sacked from Damac; Al-Shafar General Contracting said it was laying off between 500 to 1, 000 workers; Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs cut 15 and 10 percent of their employees respectively; Onmiyat, Tameer and Shuaa Capital have all trimmed their staff.
And these are only some of the recorded numbers. Several companies, especially those associated with the property sector, have not announced their redundancies. Furthermore, many other companies are resorting to salary cuts.
A recent report in Emirates Business quotes the Indian consulate as saying that carriers flying to the UAE have received bulk bookings from construction firms in the country to fly out 20,000 of their workers. Venu Rajamony, Indian Consul-General in Dubai said that construction companies are sending their Indian workforce back home on long leave or repositioning them to other Gulf countries where they have projects.
With the rising rate of unemployment, and with the list of cancelled or suspended projects in the region constantly growing longer, (a recent report from HSBC says around $75 billion projects in the UAE have been suspended or cancelled) where are the new people who have been given visas finding jobs? At the moment, there hardly seems to be space for new people in the property sector…or any industry for the matter. The financial, media and advertising sectors have also been hit by the financial crisis.
And with so many people already desperately trying to find some work – any work in the city – it seems quite incredible that so many new people are relocating to Dubai for a nice cushy job.
…Which is precisely why Raed Safadi should be giving us more data, like if and where there are 500 jobs available in the emirate.