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Expo 2020 will increase competition for jobs

Dubai’s successful bid to host the World Expo in 2020 will increase competition in the local job market, although a number of employees will benefit from salary increases of up to 25 per cent, industry experts said.

The global event, considered the third largest in the world after the Olympics and the World Cup, is expected to further elevate Dubai’s status as an expatriate destination. With thousands of jobs forecast to be created, more people will want to come to Dubai for work and jobseekers may be in for a tough ride ahead.

The World Expo is expected to create 220,000 jobs, but the UAE population, which stood at 9.2 million as of last year, is already forecast to reach 12.2 million in 2018.

Fatima Sherif, research analyst at Euromonitor International, noted that although the event may trigger an influx of jobseekers into Dubai, only those with the necessary work visa can stay in the country permanently. Any increase in job demand will also likely be met with the addition of more opportunities in other growth sectors.

“Despite this, the job market is expected to become more competitive in the UAE as more expatriates seek job opportunities in this part of the world,” Sherif told Gulf News.

John Bailey, financial planner at Acuma Independent Financial Advice, said there will be a “massive competition from both global and local resourcing companies to put in place” the jobs needed for the expo. “In turn, recruiters and headhunters from all over the world will start casting an eye on the region as top jobs and associated salaries hit the construction, hospitality and financial sectors,” Bailey said.

The surge in employment opportunities, he added, will increase the salaries in some sectors by as much as 25 per cent. He also sees an increase in “associated expat living packages”.

The expected pay increases will benefit the construction/infrastructure, real estate and banking industries, but it will not be across the board.

“Salary raises will mainly impact mid- and senior-level employees with relevant experience,” said Annalinde Nickisch, HR consultant at The Thought Factory.

Guy Rickett, CEO of Cazar, said the amount of pay adjustments will depend on many factors that are dependent on the World Expo, such as how the global and regional economies, as well as the political situation and housing market, will fare in the next five to six years.

“We wouldn’t expect to see any substantial salary increase in the near future,” he said. “The announcement has just been made. It takes time for it to trickle down to hiring, getting new budgets, hiring plans and company expansion plans.”