Dubai/Abu Dhabi/Fujairah: The global financial crisis has finally hit home.
News of falling economies is no longer confined to foreign countries and the credit crisis is slowly, but surely, beginning to affect us all.
Sacked employees, suspension of credit facilities and mortgages for apartments in the UAE are only some of the tell-tale signs that the economic situation is spiralling downhill.
In a recent Gulf News poll, 47 per cent of respondents said they were not afraid of losing their job, 44 per cent said they were, six per cent were their own boss and the minority of respondents, at three per cent, said they were currently unemployed.
City Talk took to the streets and asked residents if they were afraid of losing their jobs because of the downturn, whether they were looking for better jobs, and how they were managing their expenses.
Riyadh Abdullah, engineer from Iraq, 25, said: "I am looking for a better job that will offer me a house allowance because the expense involved in paying rent is becoming too much for me. I am depending on loans from banks because that is the only way I can keep up with the rising prices. If the situation in Iraq improves then I will definitely want to leave the UAE."
Abdullah Al Ali, barber, Syria, 22, said: "Of course I am worried because it is very difficult to find a good one these days. If I lost my job I would not know what to do because that is the only way I can continue afford living here. Right now I manage my expenses by spending according to my salary, and not more than that."
Dehlia Peneyra, Filipina radiographer, 51, said: "Of course I am worried to lose my job, especially that things are unstable for us in the healthcare sector now. I am also searching for a better paid salary, because everything has gone up in price, especially living expenses and rent. However, I do not see myself leaving the city any time soon. My husband and I do all we can to sort out our financial needs before the end of each month and send the rest of our money to the Philippines, where the economy is rather stable compared to the West."
Kevin Schoepp, assistant director, Canada, 38, said: "I am not afraid to lose my job since I work in public education and am protected from economic downturns. I am not looking for another job because the UAE's financial status is safe compared to other countries. I think people are coming to this country to escape the financial difficulties in the West. I am still buying stocks and am following the advice of Warren Buffet, one of the richest men in the world."
Shelton Guiao, revenue analyst from India, 30, said: "I am worried about losing my job since it is what keeps me financially stable. My job is what pays off my expenses. If you don't have that, then it can turn to a tragedy. I am not, however, looking for another job. But if I am offered an opportunity then I will intend on moving on, but I do not intend on moving out of the UAE. I have my money placed in a savings account in India and things are looking good so far."
Reycelyn Regio, a Filipina accountant, 28, said: "Maybe my job is not affected now but if things get worse then there could be a chain reaction effect that could reach all of us. As for me, I feel it's better to be ready for all eventualities and I'm keeping all options open. I do not think, however, that I will leave the country because it still remains the best option for me and certainly the economic situation in the Philippines is not encouraging. All we can do is work hard, save money and hope that, in the long run, the economy will be strong again."
Sanoop Prasad, regional accountant from India, 26, said: "I just recently came from India to start a new job here but I am optimistic there will be little affect on our business. I feel my job is quite secure and I am not thinking too much about the economy in general. I am just concerned with performing well at my new job and, in any case, I do not think the situation is that bad, even back in India. I think as a company, we are doing well and I hope this will continue."
Muntasir Bashir, Sudanese typist, 22, said: "I am not worried about losing my job because the business is doing well. I am also looking for a better job that will pay me more than what I am earning now because it is difficult to keep up with the expenses.