Dubai UAE economy
Businesses in Dubai's non-oil private sector are now doing better than in the previous months, the latest data suggest. Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: Business conditions in Dubai have bounced back, with companies adding new jobs and getting busier than in the previous months, according to the latest analysis.

The Emirates NBD’s latest seasonally adjusted Dubai Economy Tracker Index indicated that firms in the non-oil private sector improved strongly in November after a slump a month earlier.

Businesses in the construction sector emerged as the strongest performer, as they reported a robust increase in headcounts, followed by those in wholesale and retail, and travel and tourism.


The index, which is designed to give an accurate overview of the health in the non-oil private sector, rose to a five-month high of 55.3, up from 52.5 in October, the lowest in more than a year.

The data suggested that employment is stabilising, following a two-month period of “mild job shredding.”

“This marked the strongest reading in five months, and something of a recovery following the October reading, which was a slump to the lowest level since March 2016. Nevertheless, the index remains shy of the 2017 average (56.0), and there remain weak points within the data,” said Khatija Haque, Head of MENA Research at Emirates NBD.

Output across the non-oil private sector climbed from 56.5 to 61.1, while new work rose at a faster rate, at 59.9, up from 54.5 in October.

Emirates NBD Dubai Economy Tracker Index

economy tracker
The latest index shows an improvement in the non-oil private sector. Image Credit: Emirates NBD

Other analysts agreed that companies in Dubai are indeed showing more appetite for expansion. Businesses in the construction industry, in particular, are opening up more vacancies, as many projects are being completed for the Expo 2020 hosting in Dubai.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) had earlier predicted that the UAE economy will strengthen over the next few years on the back of higher oil prices and government spending. “With oil production and government spending set to rise, overall growth is projected to strengthen to 2.9 per cent this year and 3.7 per cent next year,” Natalie Tamirisa of IMF said in October.

What companies are looking for

Michael Gilmore, managing partner of headhunting firm Jordan Forde, noted that organisations registered an increase in hiring during the later part of the year. He said companies are increasingly looking for construction professionals, as well as new sales, marketing and human resources staff.

Those sought after include senior-level construction and sales and marketing professionals.

“Expo 2020 is creating an increasing demand for construction professionals on the delivery side, as we are entering the build stage of 2020,” Gilmore said.

“2018 has been the most competitive year that we have seen in over a decade. Hence, the huge demand for sales and marketing candidates. Companies cannot sell without a good marketing strategy and cannot increase revenue without a good sales team.”

Gilmore added that privately owned local firms are looking to attract “high quality” candidates in lower volumes due to lower budgets, but multinational firms tend to recruit in larger numbers and are less particular on the quality because they have higher budgets and higher risk capability.

“Government and semi-governement companies are investing heavily in their HR functions to retain and attract their top talent. Learning and development professionals are also in high demand within the HR function to improve the compensation and benefit structures, career development and Emiratisation.”