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.

Celebrating 20 years at Swisslinx: An interview with Director Jennifer Bego

Swisslinx is celebrating its 20th birthday this year, and to celebrate, we’re speaking to some of the people who’ve helped make Swisslinx become the business it is today. Jennifer (Jenny) Bego has been with Swisslinx since 2005, when she arrived in Switzerland after spending a year in Australia. While she never anticipated such a long and successful career in recruitment, she’s loved every step of it. Here’s her story: “At university I never really imagine a career path for myself” Like many in this industry, Jenny didn’t grow up dreaming of becoming a recruiter. Rather, the career is one she fell into, and she’s not looked back in 14 years. During her schooling and uni days Jenny wasn’t sure what career pathway might interest her, although she had the fundamental skills that make up a good recruiter: communication, confidence and social intelligence. After graduating she was eager to start earning, and when searching for jobs within her skillset and qualifications she kept coming across recruitment vacancies. With no reason not to, Jenny interviewed for her first role – and the rest is history.  “Swisslinx is family – literally” Many people say that their work is like a family, but Jenny really means it. Her then-UK-based father was recruited by Swisslinx whilst Jenny was travelling in Australia, and after her trip ended she returned to her new home of Zurich to join them. Her dad suggested she consider a role at Swisslinx, and since then the company has had a hand to play in bringing her brother, his best friend and Jenny’s school friend to Zurich. She says the ripple effect of that first call from Swisslinx to her father has been amazing, changing the course of not only her life, but those of many people she knows. “My reasons for joining weren’t strategic – I really just liked the partners” When Jenny first joined Swisslinx, she had no idea she’d had such an illustrious career with the business. With little thought to her future or any strategic reason for joining a company, Jenny says she simply liked the people she met at Swisslinx and wanted to work somewhere that seemed friendly and focused. Starting out as a researcher on the finance desk, Jenny soon saw herself drawn to the speed and style of the IT side of the business, where she’s been ever since.  “In my 15 years I’ve experienced different roles all over the business” Jenny’s time at Swisslinx has spanned research, consultant and management roles, before she moved into her current Director position in January 2018. She says it’s important for her to remain hands-on and play an active role in managing accounts, particularly as Swisslinx retains the number one position on the PSL for IT contractors. Managing a team of consultant, Jenny has contributed significantly to the strategy and growth of Swisslinx with the creation of new service offerings such as RPO. “15 years in any industry brings a lot of change” Jenny says one of the most dramatic changes she’s seen during her time at Swisslinx has been the introduction of automated and system-driven recruitment delivery models. Relationship building will always be a crucial part of recruitment, but the addition of new technologies has allowed many processes to become more efficient and effective. This has meant well-written CVs have become more important than ever in the recruitment process, as recruiters can no longer discuss certain attributes of a candidate directly with the line manager. In addition, Jenny has seen a growth in appetite for flexible talent solutions such as RPO has stemmed from an increase in scale-ups and start-ups, as well as the candidate-driven market which requires more manpower to reach the top talent. Many roles end up being filled by the passive candidate market who can only be reached by active sourcing, which is in itself a hugely time-intensive task. This is an activity that is not a part of traditional HR responsibilities and is therefore typically outsourced to active sourcing specialists, such as Swisslinx, to run in tailor-made solutions such as project or long-term based RPO.  “The people are what I love most about Swisslinx” Swisslinx has become a family to Jenny over the years, and she says the way employees are treated is unique. “They truly care and make you feel valued as a person”, says Jenny. “The trust and freedom they provide creates a natural and deeply rooted sense of loyalty which I am sure is shared by many here.” Jenny says Olly and Caroline extend so much trust in their team members and are flexible, understanding and supportive.  In addition, Jenny says she’s stayed with the company due to its ethics and ways of working. Swisslinx has a strong moral compass, says Jenny, and will not “make a deal at any cost”.  “It’s been great to see the evolution of the company and the success we’ve had over the past 15 years” Jenny says Swisslinx has become so well regarded in its market space and its expansion into new areas is testament to its ongoing growth and success. She’s particularly proud of the success the RPO model has already had and says the level of transparency Swisslinx works with fosters a high level of trust with both clients and relationships.  “We’re seeing demand for RPOs and dedicated talent acquisition teams, and I’m excited about what’s coming in terms of the service lines we’re growing and offering,” she says. Start-ups and scale-ups are increasingly looking to Swisslinx to help fill their talent pipelines and build a database of candidates, which Jenny is keen to see develop into the future.  “As long as I’m working in recruitment, I’m working at Swisslinx” Loyal to Swisslinx and excited for the future, Jenny is looking forward to helping consultants on her team develop and grow with the company – just as she has.  Interested in learning more about what it’s like to work at Swisslinx or do business with the company? View our blog to find out more, or click here to meet other members of the team. 

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Celebrating 20 years at Swisslinx: An interview with Senior Manager Edward Cullen

Swisslinx is celebrating its 20th birthday this year, and to celebrate, we’re speaking to some of the people who’ve helped make Swisslinx become the business it is today. Ed Cullen has a strong foundation in financial services, spending eight years in client-facing sales and relationship management roles before taking his expertise to recruitment at Swisslinx. Based in Zurich and Basel, Ed utilises his English and German language skills to lead business development and client management activities across the sectors of Healthcare and Life Sciences alongside Commodities and Natural Resources. He spoke to us about his journey with Swisslinx: “I wanted to join an established company with a personalised approach” When Ed made the decision to move from financial services to recruitment, he actively sought out established brands that aligned with his values. The personalised approach to recruitment Swisslinx have and the ability consultants have to be autonomous were particularly appealing. Ed says that Swisslinx is a “grown up” place of work where team members are empowered to work independently and with ownership of their own work, with clear targets and expectations in place to allow people to succeed. “I moved from a research role to Senior Manager” Joining Swisslinx in 2011, Ed worked in a research function for six months before taking up a consultant role in Commodities and Natural Resources. From there, he progressed to the role of Senior Consultant before advancing again to Managing Consultant, then settled into his current role of Senior Manager. While the team development and management side of his role are important to Ed - he’s led a team of nine before - he insists that he still handles his own client book. Being able to be hands-on with recruitment activities and client management is essential to Ed. “Swisslinx has given me the chance to grow my career” After eight years, Ed says he’s stayed with Swisslinx due to the flexibility he’s been afforded to pursue different ideas and grow his career, saying he doesn’t feel restricted by processes and bureaucracy that can feature in other companies. The educated, international team of colleagues at Swisslinx is another highlight, with Ed saying this creates an interesting and dynamic team environment. As an organisation, Swisslinx loves to celebrate success and the management team value people who show commitment to the business, says Ed.  “Social media has completely changed the way people look for jobs” The rise of technology has touched every industry in recent years, and Ed believes social media in particular has had a big role to play in the recruitment landscape. Candidates expect to be headhunted more now than they did in the past, with social media allowing faster and more casual interactions between recruiter and jobseeker. And while in-house talent acquisition teams have grown in popularity, Ed says there is still a strong need for the experienced recruitment consultants at Swisslinx, with value added through the in-depth market experience and knowledge of sectors and roles that every member of the Swisslinx team has. Interested in learning more about what it’s like to work at Swisslinx or do business with the company? View our blog to find out more, or click here to meet other members of the team. 

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