Doing business in Dubai: Trends and developments to keep an eye on

Posting date: 09 May 2019

Doing business in Dubai: Trends and developments to keep an eye on

Dubai has become an increasingly desirable location in which to live and work, with a competitive and diverse business landscape. New developments announced by the government look set to continue the emirate’s upward trajectory as a fully-fledged global business capital, and at Swisslinx we’re excited to continue expanding in this part of the world. With exciting developments in tech entrepreneurship, oil and gas movements and a booming finance sector, there’s plenty to keep an eye on. Here are some of our highlights:


A growing market

As the biggest re-exporting centre in the Middle East, Dubai’s economy has become more dynamic and diversified in recent years, with international trade growing at an average of more than 11% each year since 1998. The emirate also recorded 41% year-on-year growth in foreign direct investment in 2018, creating around 25,000 new jobs and reflecting investors’ optimism in the future of the local economy. As the leading hub for finance and transportation in the Gulf Cooperation Council, Dubai is also ranked in the first quartile for business activity, human capital, information exchange and cultural exchange. It hosts the headquarters for most major international corporations based in the GCC and is an international tourism destination, with entrepreneurship and private investments beginning to emerge to shape a culture of innovation. Alongside that, the UAE has reached the 11th rank in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business list for 2019 thanks to its modern infrastructure, supportive legislature and access to networking opportunities.

Put simply, the Dubai business market is expanding in many different directions, making it an exciting time to be doing business in this part of the world.


The emergence of tech entrepreneurship

Early-stage start-ups make up nearly half of all companies registered in Dubai, according to Dubai Statistics Sector, with accelerators and incubators emerging at pace. The UAE sees high levels of commitment from the government and independent programmes to support the tech ecosystem, with Dubai Future Foundation and Dubai Future Accelerators supporting growth in innovation. Alongside incubators are initiatives such as the STEP Conference and GITEX Technology week, providing entrepreneurs and start-ups with the ability to showcase their work and engage with investors.


Banking and finance gain steam

The financial services market has long been a key pillar of Dubai’s economy, and this shows no sign of abating. So far this year we’ve seen the launch of a project aimed at providing 1,500 banking and finance jobs to Emirati citizens within 100 days and plans to triple the size of Dubai’s financial district (DIFC). This expansion is part of a move to cement Dubai’s position as an economic and commercial hub for the region, adding 13 million square feet to the existing Dubai International Financial Center. The DIFC investment hub is already high-performing, reporting its best-ever year for new company registrations in 2018 with a total of 437 new registrations. This saw an 11% rise in net profits for the year, taking the number of registered financial companies to 625.

Transformation is ongoing within the UAE banking sector, with banks operating with high capital and a positive outlook for the sector both now and into the future.


Oil and gas continues to recover

As a major oil and gas hub globally, it’s no surprise that the UAE’s presence in this sector remains strong. After a well-documented price slump in late 2014 the market has recently shown continued stability with the current brent crude price averaging USD $67 - $71. The sector has seen a recent increase in exploration investment, demonstrating a renewed confidence in the market. The GCC has USD $835bn worth of active oil and gas construction projects underway currently.

Development of the region’s major players is ongoing. Aramco has announced an expansion into international oil and gas exploration, likely putting them in direct competition with Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell, while ADNOC is actively seeking venture partners for its 2030 growth strategy. Such large-scale projects and ongoing investment in oil and gas suggests a burgeoning employment space for both local and international candidates.


How Swisslinx can help you

Established in 2007, our Dubai office has a focus on the Banking & Finance, Technology and Oil & Gas sectors in the Middle East and North Africa. Based in the DIFC, we have access to the huge number of opportunities available to clients and candidates here, keeping ahead of updated and trends within this part of the market.

Our multilingual team of specialists are considered experts in their respective markets and have experience in recruiting for all levels of seniority up to and including C-Suite and Board Level.

Our consultants have access to the most up-to-date information regarding the market and offer the best local advice possible to our candidates and clients. Get in touch with our Dubai office or view our latest jobs in Dubai and the UAE.

Charity Announcement – Food for everyone - Pastor Sieber/Essen für Alle

Swisslinx is delighted to announce that instead of hosting Christmas events this year, we are supporting a Zurich-based initiative called Food for Everyone. We have donated 20’000 CHF to this organisation, founded by Amine Diare Conde, who recognised the need to support the most vulnerable people affected by the COVID crisis. The charity received publicity in recent months for its valuable contribution, and our donation has been provisioned specifically to support the distribution of food to those in need due to financial constraints caused by the pandemic and will enable it to continue operating longer into 2021.   The organisation Pastor Sieber is leading the Food for Everyone project by distributing basic food and hygiene to those in need. Since 1988, Pastor Seiber has worked tirelessly to help disadvantaged people. The charity focuses on those who’ve experienced hardship and gives long-term care to people in a crisis. Pastor Sieber offers a range of support and facilities, including safe places to sleep for the homeless, social counselling and food banks. People who are struggling to find shelter and food can expect to receive pastoral care and find a temporary home with the charity.    We chose this charity as it is founded on strong values and ethics, which includes helping people in need, regardless of their background, religion or social status. Pastor Sieber relies on donations to support people who are struggling, especially right now. The Food for Everyone initiative has the power to change the lives of many people. That’s why the team at Swisslinx decided it was time to offer a helping hand to ensure the charity can continue to provide care during these challenging times.     If you would like to contribute, then visit Food for Everyone’s and Pastor Sieber’s donation pages where you’ll be able to commit yourself to a fantastic cause.

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An Overview of Switzerland’s thriving technology market

Switzerland has long been a world leader in innovation and technology. Ranked as the most innovative country in the world by the Global Innovation Index, the country remains at the forefront of science and technological research. Switzerland has always been quick to utilize new technologies to create robust innovation across a range of industries, from the financial services to healthcare and life sciences.   Over the years, Switzerland has gained a reputation for being the centre for research around artificial intelligence. Indeed, the country currently holds the most AI patents in the European health care industry. And as Switzerland continue to invest in new technologies, we can expect smarter applications to appear across all industries. With all this in mind, let’s take a look at Switzerland’s thriving technology market in more detail.   Switzerland’s tech hubs In Switzerland, fintech is a key driver of innovation throughout the country, paving the way for several tech hubs. For example, the Swiss city of Zug, not too far from Zurich, is home to bitcoin and blockchain start-ups. Blockchain technology is used in a wide range of industries, including insurance and logistics. The city has become so synonymous with the tech movement that it earned the nickname “Crypto Valley” – and it’s the fastest growing technology hub in Europe. In a 2018 report, it was shown that the city grew by 177% in the number of tech-related events. Since then, Crypto Valley has continued to thrive, even in the face of uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic. With its ever-expanding pool of developers and software companies, Switzerland has become a tech hub paradise. Other cities like Lausanne have very successful technology companies, with a focus on AI, health tech and energy.   Tech start-ups Since 1996, the number of start-ups in Switzerland has increased by 700%, with Zurich taking up most of the share. It’s important to know that Switzerland is one of the most expensive places to start a business, due to high living costs. Despite this, Switzerland has still managed to become one of the go-to countries for starting a technology company. Some of the most notable tech start-ups in recent years include Bestmile, a software company that provides autonomous vehicles, and they have offices in San Francisco and London. In 2019, it was named one of the top five best Swiss start-ups in an annual competition. Further afield in the Swiss start-up world is Flyability. Founded in 2014, the company build drones that can be used indoors to check for security and safety and dangerous spaces. The company raised 16m in total to build the drones, which promise to provide fully autonomous inspection. Flyability is focused on reducing risk for workers in confined spaces, and for the environment itself.   Key trends Several key technology trends are making waves in Switzerland. Wearable technology, for example, is having a huge impact on the Swiss insurance industry. It has the potential to help companies better understand their customers with the use of data, and as a result, manage risk and improve processes. Other trends like big data and robotics are big players and have been gaining momentum in recent years, especially in the Swiss healthcare sector. These technologies have the potential to tackle a variety of challenges in healthcare, as outlined in the digital opportunity report by the University of St. Gellen. More data and optimisation can lead to better decision-making in healthcare and create more trust for patients. There’s no doubt Switzerland has developed into an innovative hub for all kinds of technology, all of which continue to fuel the economy at a rapid rate.   Are you looking for your next opportunity in technology? At Swisslinx, we have a deep understanding of the digital and technology industry. It’s a sector that continues to evolve, with innovations coming out daily. Our team of consultants are always up to date with the latest trends in the tech market, and they use their knowledge to support candidates. If you’re looking to land your next role in technology, take a look at our job page for more information.

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