Dubai: As oil prices continue to fall and the real estate sector shows signs of slowing down, more and more residents in the UAE are concerned about losing their jobs.

In a survey conducted among UAE respondents, about three out of ten (30 per cent) said they don’t feel optimistic about the local job prospects over the next 12 months, up from 26 per cent in the first quarter. Nearly two out of ten people (19 per cent) said their biggest fear at the moment is losing their jobs.

“The fear of losing a job is a top concern in the UAE.  Parent’s welfare and happiness is also a key issue, as well as worries about the state of the economy,” according to a report by Nielsen, which polled the UAE residents.

Analysts say that while it's understandable to see people worrying about employment security, the threat of a job loss is more real in certain sectors than in others.

"Employment rates rise and fall in every nation, and the UAE is no different. At present, job security fears are not entirely unfounded in certain sectors of the economy, but are no cause for concern in others," said Rajiv Ramanathan, associate partner for human resources consulting company Aon Hewitt.

Dubai’s property market has been witnessing an overall decline in residential rents and real estate sales, although the emirate is still attracting investors and certain areas remain hotspots for both tenants and buyers.

At the same time, the price of oil, which has been falling for about a year now, dropped to its lowest level in four months last Monday, following a slump in Chinese stock markets.  Fuel subsidies have recently been lifted to help boost government coffers amid a low oil price environment.

However, industry sources said that some businesses in the country are still hiring new staff.

Only about two weeks ago, a UAE-based company, Al Habtoor Group, revealed that it is hiring at least 3,000 employees for a massive real estate development near the Dubai Canal project. Positions are being offered for those interested to work in top-rated hotels and luxury apartments.

As of May this year, more recruitment activity was reported in the information technology and telecommunications industry, as well as in banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) and health care sectors.

According to the latest Monster Employment Index Middle East, there was a high demand for software, hardware and telecom professionals in May, with the IT and telecom industry registering a 23 per cent year-on-year growth in recruitment.

Arslan Ashraf, managing director at Nielsen Arabian Peninsula, however, said that fears about job security are recently “amplifying” due to falling oil prices.  The pessimism is also being compounded by the slowdown in real estate and tourism sectors.

 “In the UAE, job security concerns are amplifying as lower oil prices can fuel expectations of government spending cuts. Additionally, two key sectors of the economy – real estate and tourism – are showing signs of softening,” said Ashraf.

Suhail Masri, vice president of sales at, said that recruitment activity in the UAE will pick up with the "approach of Expo 2020 and launch of a myriad of development projects in the country."

Their survey also showed that 71 per cent of employers in the UAE are planning to hire in "a year's time." The job portal alone has more than 3,500 vacancies available in the UAE daily.