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.

Swisslinx recognised as Best Supplier for the second year in a row

We’re delighted to announce that Swisslinx were once again awarded Best Supplier 2018 for the Roche HTS MSP program. As these roles are challenging to source and most positions are distributed to more than 10 suppliers on this account, this recognition is a huge achievement for us – particularly as it was our second year in a row to win.   The award is significant as the suppliers involved all have an even playing field when sourcing for the roles, most of which require a mix of both life sciences and IT knowledge. This is a niche skillset and the talent pool tends to be limited, which means there is huge competition for every position. While the roles can be difficult to source, we gave every position utmost priority and threw ourselves into the challenge. This included incorporating previous managers’ candidate feedback into our search criteria, treating our candidates fairly and maintaining professionalism and discretion at every step. Our reputation as a reliable, top-tier consultancy means we receive high calibre referrals for candidates we can place in the future.   Winning the accolade comes at an exciting time for our consultancy and contributes to our continued success in the ever-expanding healthcare & life sciences IT market. In today’s data-centred economy, our life sciences IT team is particularly busy sourcing and attracting the best talent in the field to enable our clients to use data to save and improve lives. We’re proud of our success in the hotly contested battle and would like to congratulate our fellow suppliers on what was a successful year for the program.   About Swisslinx’s Healthcare and Life Sciences team   Our Healthcare and Life Sciences team is active with clients all over Switzerland and focuses on the Commercial and Research and Development units in addition to our IT coverage. In the last 12 months we have completed four major projects for firms relocating offices to Switzerland, from talent mapping and compensation benchmarking through to search and selection and advising on employment contracts.     Are you a candidate looking for a job in healthcare and life sciences IT or a manager looking to add talent in your team? Then please contact us to start a conversation. 

READ MORE

Why does Switzerland lead the way in innovation?

Switzerland has once again been named the world’s most innovative country, claiming the title for the ninth year in a row. The annual Global Innovation Index ranks 129 countries around the world based on 80 parameters, including regulatory environment, gross expenditure on research and development and mobile app creation, making it an extremely thorough overview of which nations are pushing ahead with innovation. And as innovation is one of the key drivers of economic growth and prosperity, it’s in every country’s best interests to strive for ongoing transformation and technological change. Here’s how Switzerland keeps coming out on top: A history of new inventions Switzerland has the most patent applications relative to population size anywhere in Europe, thanks largely to the dominant pharmaceuticals and life sciences sectors. Pharmaceutical giant Roche led the way for Swiss patent applications, followed by the ABB, Nestle and Novartis. Filing 956 patents per million inhabitants, Switzerland was leagues ahead of the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark, which all filed around 400 patents per million inhabitants. António Campinos, President of the European Patent Office, says Switzerland’s strong patent growth sets it apart from other European countries. “This emphasizes the outstanding innovation potential of the country, which continues to grow based on the rise of patent applications,” he notes. The commitment to innovation is demonstrated in the Exhibition of Inventions, an annual event in Geneva where inventors exhibit their products to investors, and in Switzerland’s proud history of bringing new products to market. The nation is responsible for introducing the modern zip (known as the coil zip), Velcro, white chocolate, muesli and the Red Cross to the rest of the world – and don’t forget about the Swiss Army Knife. Ongoing investment in start-ups and new technologies Switzerland has always had a firm focus on investment in innovation, particularly when it comes to start-up business and new technologies. A new fund of up to CHF500 million is testament to this focus on entrepreneurship, with backers of the Swiss Entrepreneurs Fund pledging to close the gap between start-up and established company. 2018 saw venture capital investment in start-ups break the 1 billion CHF mark, increasing by 32% from 2017. ICT investment grew by 120%, with biotech, medtech and digital health also receiving significant investment. The finance sector has long been a target for investors, with Zug’s Crypto Valley serving as one of the global blockchain hotspots and a high proportion of both fintech and IT security start-ups. With more than 300 start-ups founded in Switzerland each year, it’s clear that the nation’s propensity for innovation is only growing stronger. The CHF22 billion investment into R&D each year is further proof of this. A modern approach to education Switzerland boasts some of the top universities in the world, with both ETH and EPFL among the best in the world for robotics. The World University Rankings 2019 point to ETH Zurich being the second-best institution for computer science globally, with knowledge readily transferred between universities and the companies that surround them thanks to government funding of research and development. The focus on education extends as far back as primary school, where new teaching methods are part of the daily routine and there’s an emphasis on teaching skills, as opposed to pure knowledge. Lehrplan 21 is part of this. The curriculum for German-speaking Switzerland specifies not just the content that must be learned, but also the skills that pupils should acquire, with emphasis placed on learning strategies and problem solving. As pupils move through the schooling system, they may encounter the Swiss VET (vocational education and training) system which sees training geared towards demand for vocational qualifications and the jobs available. With one of the lowest youth unemployment rates in Europe, Switzerland’s modern approach to education and training is clearly paying off. Find your next job in Switzerland with Swisslinx At Swisslinx, we partner with some of the world’s most innovative and forward-thinking companies across the recruitment markets of financial services, digital and technology and healthcare and life sciences. If you’re looking for your next role in one of the most exciting and inventive markets in the world, we’d love to help. Take a look at our latest jobs or get in touch to start a conversation. 

READ MORE