The Engineering Job Market in the Face of an Unstable Economy in Dubai

Engineering is a broad discipline and is broken down into many sub-genres. The main engineering disciplines are chemical engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering. Advanced technology has opened up the field of engineering to many new subgenres such as aerospace engineering, agricultural engineering, nuclear engineering, software engineering, and genetic engineering. The methodology of engineering uses physics and mathematics to solve complex problems.

Engineering projects vary in size from small to large. Every structure built has been influenced by engineering design. Since engineering touches so many aspects of society the job outlook remains strong and constant compared to other professions. Engineering positions are expected to increase worldwide as developed nations continue to grow and expand. Undeveloped nations also need engineers to help them develop infrastructure and systems to help their countries progress.

Many engineers have been employed in Dubai because of the major construction projects that are occurring there. Dubai is home of several megaprojects including Palm Islands, The World, The Burj Khalifa Complex, and Dubailand. Dubai is home to the world’s largest building, largest shopping mall, and largest manmade island. To put some of the projects into perspective; the Dubai Waterfront is over 2 ½ times the size of Washington D.C.

Even though the Dubai economy has taken a hit since its all-time high in the early 2000’s, there are still several opportunities for engineers who are willing to relocate and who have experience in mechanical and electrical engineering. Engineering will remain one of the most in demand jobs in Dubai.

The Construction Job Market in Dubai and Recent Economic Downturn

Construction projects involve a wide variety of job skills and positions that cross over involve many different sectors of the economy. Construction is simply the process that entails building and assembling infrastructure. Construction projects, whether big or small, require intricate planning from beginning to end and must involve several skilled laborers and managers with diverse skill sets. Construction projects not only involve trades people, but there are also legal teams, financial planners, environmental planners, urban developers, design teams, and procurement specialists.

The construction industry in Dubai has been in the spotlight as the city has taken on several high profile construction projects. Projects include the tallest building in the world known as the Burj Khalifa and the construction of the world’s largest manmade island. Construction is one of the main economic strengths of Dubai and there are currently approximately 250,000 construction laborers who reside in the city.

Construction jobs have recently suffered a downturn due to the economic downturn that many countries, including Dubai, have experienced. Specialty welders, construction managers specializing in large tourist attractions, and architects are the most in demand construction jobs. Even though the Dubai construction industry has experienced a recent downturn, the local government officials have developed financial strategies to diversify the city’s economic base, which will contribute to the number of construction projects starting up. Several publications have rated Dubai as one of the richest cities with the most purchasing power parity in the entire world. A recent influx of IT, biotech, and financial firms have resulted in an increase of construction jobs.

The Banking and Finance Job Sector in Dubai

Banking and finance jobs have come into the spotlight with the recent failures of several large banking institutions and scandals of firms and individuals cheating investors out of billions of dollars. When the United States experiences a deep economic recession such as the current financial crisis, the ripple effect on the economies of other countries is tremendous. One positive aspect of an economic downturn is that the skills and experience of banking and finance professionals are needed more than ever because of their ability to help organizations cut costs and increase profits.

The Dubai economy was largely founded on oil, but now relies heavily on tourism. Many projects such as the world’s tallest building and largest man-made island are attempts to make Dubai a highly desired tourist destination. Dubai has recently experienced an economic decline much like many other countries around the world. The economic struggles have spurred Dubai leaders to take swift action in an attempt to spur economic growth and diversification. City leaders have developed several strategies to attract a wide range of businesses to the city including firms in the biotechnology, aerospace, medical, tourism, IT, and financial fields.

Dubai’s efforts to grow and expand their economic base have resulted in an increase of banking and finance jobs. Individuals who can market themselves as people who can help an organization be more fiscally responsible as well as profitable can quite easily leverage themselves into a lucrative job in the banking and financial industry in Dubai.

The Accounting Job Sector and Outlook in Dubai

The accounting job sector is expected to experience steady growth through the remainder of the decade as businesses are in need of individuals who can accurately reflect the current economic health of an organization. Accountants are also needed for their abilities to supply management with financial forecasts as part of an overall plan to grow and maintain financial stability. With widespread economic scandal breaking out worldwide in many top organizations as well as the global meltdown of banking institutions, organizations are in need of accountants to ensure financial records are compliant and fall within the accepted accounting guidelines.

One positive aspect of financial crisis is that accountants become more important because they are vital at helping organizations become more fiscally responsible. Many businesses are focusing on fiscal conservatism, which makes the qualified accountant an integral part of the organizational team. Many accounting jobs require at least a two-year associate degree, with many requiring a bachelor’s degree.

Much like the rest of the world, Dubai has fallen on difficult economic times within the past few years. Real estate prices have fallen dramatically as many tourist related construction projects have come to a halt. In response to the economic hardships in the construction industry, Dubai officials have set up industry specific zones throughout the region in hopes to attract businesses in the IT, biotechnology, medical, tourism, media, entertainment, and financial fields. The region is attracting many of these types of businesses, which bodes well for accounting professionals looking to live in an exotic, progressive area.

UAE Liberalizing the Telecommunication Sectors is Great News for Job Seekers

It looks like the UAE will be giving the green light to give customers the choice of telecommunications providers soon, which is great news for consumers. The days of poor customer service will be in the past, as companies will now have to compete for their clientele instead of being assigned them based on addresses. While this is just what the people have wanted, these changes are going to put significant stress on the leaders in the telecommunications sector.

Telecommunications companies are going to have to work overtime to fix the problems of the past if they want to earn and keep customers. This means a major overhaul of the customer service and marketing aspects of their businesses- great news for those seeking jobs in telecommunications in the region.

The April 2010 Job Index Survey noted that 56% of UAE employers had plans to hire in the upcoming quarters, and the majority of those openings would be in telecommunications. It is easy to see why this sector has such projected growth, as telecommunication companies will be competing for not only customers, but also top caliber talent that can help grow the business success through these drastic changes.

One would assume a vast majority of these positions will be filled by workers from areas where this sector has been highly competitive for some time, such as Europe and America. At the very least, UAE’s telecommunications companies can learn a thing or two about how to, and how not to, provide top notch service from looking at companies from these areas.

Staffing Outlook for Dubai in 2011 and Beyond

Any staffing or human resource professional that keeps an eye on Dubai’s labor market has to see the unlimited potential this area provides. When companies like Manpower and Robert Half flock to establish a presence in an area, big things are happening. The recent economic climate has made the media portray Dubai in a negative light, which has caused less people from Europe and North America to seek employment there than in the past.

In past years the majority of recruiting efforts in Dubai were focused on overseas candidates. However, the current job market is leaning in a different direction. The high cost of relocation and recruiting agency fees for bringing workers from abroad has local companies pushing to hire more people that currently live in the market. When you couple this with the risk involved in relocating and the money lost if the employee chooses to return home, its understandable why local companies want to hire from the local workforce.

This creates a unique opportunity for recruiters and human resource professionals. Dubai’s old approach to recruiting just is not going to cut it any longer. Companies of all sizes will be looking for recruiters and human resource professionals that can deliver quality candidates with all of the extra expense.

So while the companies may not want to pay to relocate employees to fill the vast number of vacant positions that the Job Index forecasts, a great opportunity is presented for recruiters and human resource professionals. Those from North America and Europe should consider getting on board now before the big push to recruit locally begins.