How Will Expo 2020 Impact The UAE Jobs Market? - Gulf Business
Now Reading
How Will Expo 2020 Impact The UAE Jobs Market?

How Will Expo 2020 Impact The UAE Jobs Market?

Suhail Masri, VP sales at, gives his insight into the impact Expo 2020 will have on the UAE’s job market.

Do you expect hiring to increase in the buildup to Expo2020?

Winning the bid will very positively and expediently affect the job market in the UAE and we have already seen an uptick in activity in recent months. The hiring pattern might change across industries that will be most affected by the bid.

According to the MENA Consumer Confidence Index survey (March 2014), more than half of UAE respondents (52 per cent) state that the country’s economy has improved in the last six months; a trend that 68 per cent believe will continue in the six months to come. Business conditions are considered to be good to very good by 50 per cent of respondents, with three quarters (72 per cent) claiming that things will become even better in a year’s time.’s MENA Job Index survey found that UAE residents are particularly keen on local job prospects, with 71 per cent stating that the nation is more attractive than other countries. 61 per cent of UAE companies claim they will either probably or definitely hire in the coming three months, and 67 per cent of UAE-based companies will be hiring in the next 12 months.

What job type, or industry sector is set to have the highest number of openings?

Expo Dubai 2020 will, among other advantages, lead to an increase in the number of building developments undertaken in the country in order to create the appropriate infrastructure, as well as create jobs in the tourism sector. This growth will certainly trickle down to other industries too. In terms of attracting and retaining top talent in the UAE, the MENA Job Index survey February 2014 shows that the construction industry is considered by 41 per cent of surveyed professionals to be the most popular. Tourism and hospitality (38 per cent) and banking and finance (37 per cent) are also perceived as extremely popular with UAE top talent.

Do you expect salaries to be impacted in the buildup to the event?

Certainly. When we surveyed professionals currently working in the UAE, 21 per cent reported that their financial position had improved in the last six months, although four in ten (42 per cent) claimed there had been no change and 28 per cent saw a decline. More than half (53 per cent) claim that their savings have decreased compared to 12 months ago. The outlook is positive, however, with 51 per cent anticipating a positive change to their financial situation within the coming six months, despite the expectation that cost of living will increase in the same period from eight in ten (82 per cent) of respondents living in the UAE.

Purchasing trends in the UAE are looking positive too. Among the 43 per cent who are considering buying a vehicle for personal use in the next 12 months, about half (50 per cent) would prefer a used vehicle. A quarter (26 per cent) plan to invest in property within the next 12 months. Amongst property investors, 55 per cent will look for new construction and 45 per cent will opt for apartments (45 per cent).

How many positions created will be permanent and how many will be temporary?

Positions will probably be created in different industries and job roles in the next few years, shifting accordingly to accommodate the different stages of Expo 2020 from preparation to execution to sustaining growth. In recent years, many of the country’s resources have been channeled into sectors such as arts and culture (among other key sectors) in preparation for the bid, and we witnessed remarkable growth of dedicated Free Zones for media, entertainment and other creative industries in the UAE. They have already attracted major international companies to set up their Middle East base in the UAE over the past few years. All this has led to jobs across career levels in these industries. For the upcoming few years in preparation for the bid, the industries that build infrastructure, like construction, will certainly see many more job openings. During the Expo, the industries that will grow will be hospitality, entertainment, and tourism.

How can companies retain talent in the buildup to the event?

1. Transparency is key: Transparency is essential. At, managers are encouraged to have an open and frequent dialogue with their team. Employees are also involved in much of the decision-making process.

2. Better employee experience results in more productivity. Companies should focus on the employee experience. A happy employee is a motivated and productive team member.

3. Recognise success. Employees appreciate regular feedback and recognition.

4. Employees need good work/life balance. Of course, it wouldn’t be an employee-centric culture if we didn’t recognise the importance of work/life balance and the needs of employees to give prominence to family.

5. Eliminate stress. It’s possible to alleviate employee stress by understanding it sources. The primary sources of stress for MENA professionals are poor pay (16.1 per cent), poor management (15.6 per cent), poor work environment (15 per cent) and poor work/life balance (14.5 per cent), according to the Employee Motivation in the MENA’ survey, January 2012.


Scroll To Top