Five reasons why the slowing economy is not as bad as you think

Author: Kirsty Tuxford | Date: 13 Jul 2016

Recruitment expert says there is much for prospective employees to be positive about

With the media full of stories on job cuts and low oil prices, it would be easy to give in to a feeling of doom regarding job prospects for professionals. But contrary to what is often reported, there are a number of reasons why it is an exciting time to be working in the GCC. People Management asked Jennifer Campori, managing director for Middle East and Europe at recruiters Charterhouse, to make the case.
Reports of a ‘mass exodus’ of jobless professionals are questionable; people always leave the UAE in summer
It’s not all doom and gloom and it’s not a mass exodus. Oil and gas prices have been down, but that’s a global issue. People are saying that things are slow in the region, but that’s businesses being cautious. Yes, there are people leaving, but it’s summer and that’s when lots of people leave. Historically, July is a slow month because it’s when people go on holiday.
 
Several sectors are actively hiring
A number of sectors are still seeing growth, such as healthcare – especially within medical devices. Sales and marketing, especially digital marketing, is also experiencing an increase in recruitment. Digital marketing is relatively new to the region, and there’s a big push from retail into this area as a lot of people are shopping online. A lot of people are also making the most of opportunities in e-commerce. These things have a knock-on effect on the local economy, and there are a lot of opportunities within those sectors.
 
Clients can also afford to be cautious about who they hire. They want the best people they can possibly get, which is not a bad thing. We have seen some slowness in recruitment activity recently, however Q4 is when our clients are saying they are going hire; people are going to start to push forward with plans now Ramadan has finished.
 
Businesses are thinking ‘outside the box’ to ensure the economy isn’t dependent on oil
Dubai does everything it can to support growth in the region, and make sure it isn’t heavily reliant on oil. In Abu Dhabi, they are also diversifying their economy: for example a merger was just announced between the National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank, and the state investment funds Mubadala and International Petroleum Investment Company have merged as well. Everybody’s thinking outside the box in terms of how to grow the economy and I think there’s more opportunity here than some people are making out.
 
Businesses are being cautious about who they hire, which means the level of professionalism will increase
Employers have a right to be picky. Our clients are looking for stability and long-term candidates, not those who are likely to jump ship for more money every six months, which is not uncommon. However, we have seen some changes when it comes to candidates, whereby they are more focused on developing themselves, which appeals to clients - they want people that are interested in long-term growth.
 
The economy has slowed, but the GCC is still full of opportunities
While it can be hard to see the positives of a slowing economy, the UAE in particular has continued to improve – even when times were tough in 2009, the country was strong enough to come out of it. Luckily we are not in the same kind of situation now; it’s not that people don’t have money to spend, it’s that they are just being cautious. And the caution is due to things going on globally – the EU referendum in the UK has just taken place, and oil is at $50 a barrel, but Dubai has many things on the horizon such as Expo 2020, and Emiratisation is going great guns.