Coronavirus: UAE residents switch jobs to stay on

Dubai - Latest findings showed that many professionals in the GCC are switching careers, mainly due to the Covid-19 pandemic.


Rohma Sadaqat

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Published: Wed 16 Dec 2020, 6:34 AM

Last updated: Wed 16 Dec 2020, 6:43 AM

Residents across the UAE and GCC are becoming more comfortable with the idea of changing careers to find positions that meet their needs, new research has shown.

Online recruitment firm, GulfTalent’s latest findings showed that many professionals in the GCC are switching careers, mainly due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Among job categories, the impact of the pandemic was most severe on the education, aviation, and hospitality sectors; while the healthcare and logistics sectors saw employment demand increase.

UAE jobs: Hospitals, clinics go on a hiring spree

The findings of the research showed that the economic squeeze brought about by the pandemic has resulted in job losses, pay cuts, salary delays, and career stagnation for many expatriates in the Gulf. While many have left the region as a result, some have sought to retain their residence and earnings by switching to alternative careers within the region. Many cabin crew who lost their jobs have transitioned to real estate brokerage roles. Among teachers facing job losses or unpaid leave, admin and secretarial roles have been common destinations. Meanwhile, many catering professionals who were made redundant have taken up employment in customer service roles.

The latest edition of PwC’s Middle East Economy Watch, also showed that economic activity picked up in Q3, with leading economic performance indicators showing signs of recovery.

Richard Boxshall, senior economist at PwC Middle East, said that Q3 of 2020 has definitely shown signs of recovery for the economy. This, he said, has mainly been due to better measures in place to combat the pandemic and continuous adaptation by governments and businesses to the ‘new normal.’

“And, while uncertainty about the economic situation of the post-pandemic world persists, the region is much better prepared to manage Covid-19 next year than this, so we should look forward to a period of economic growth and recovery in 2021,” he said.

GulfTalent’s research also showed that the pandemic has pushed many into home-based freelance jobs or entrepreneurship. Some teachers reported, for the first, time teaching students privately from home via Zoom; while a small but growing number of people from different backgrounds are setting up online stores selling goods. GulfTalent also noted that candidates’ salary expectations have decreased significantly. To switch to a new employer within the UAE, job applicants on GulfTalent demanded a median salary increase of just two per cent in April, down sharply from 14 per cent in February. One in four UAE-based applicants in April were willing to accept a new job that paid less than their previous position.

However, one factor that many jobseekers are unwilling to compromise on is remote working. According to the World Economic Forum Future of Jobs report, day-to-day digitalisation has leapt forward, with a large-scale shift to remote working and e-commerce, driving a surge in work-from-home arrangements and a new marketplace for remote work. On average, 44 per cent of workers are able to work remotely during the Covid-19 crisis, while 24 per cent of workers are unable to perform their current role. This estimate indicates an aspiration to expand the availability of remote work.


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Photo: Alamy
Photo: Alamy

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