GNcareers, from Gulf News

'Slight' decline in hiring in Dubai's real estate sector

Hiring in the UAE’s real estate industry has slowed down a bit, as a number of small-time companies are trying to cope with a drop in business activity, a source told Gulf News.

Dubai’s property market edged “further south” during the second quarter of the year, with rental rates in a number of locations and homes for sale recording a decline, according to an earlier report by property consultant Asteco.

The “softening” in the market has had an impact on some businesses, including real estate agencies. In fact, one leading real estate organisation in Dubai has recently closed shop, causing about 80 employees to lose jobs.

Recruitment specialists, however, insist that the overall employment scenario is still good, adding that while there have been some job cuts in the sector, some developers are still hiring additional staff as they launch new projects.

 “Our annual research doesn’t reflect any significant job cuts in the sector as a whole. On the contrary, we have seen the large real estate companies increasing overall number of employees as new developments and projects are announced,” Harish Bhatia, regional manager, UAE at Hay Group, told Gulf News.

There are also no reports of companies cutting back on employees’ salaries. ““We’re also not seeing any reactions in terms of compensation levels in this sector. Other than a slight slowdown in hiring due to a focus on cost management, it is business as usual for most developers.”

“Some smaller players and real estate agencies may be impacted due to reduced activity in their areas of specialty, however, this comprises a minimal impact in terms of the sector overall,” Bhatia pointed out.

S&K Estate Agents, also known as Smith and Ken, filed bankruptcy in July, causing more than 80 employees to lose their jobs. The company’s Dubai and LA offices are no longer active after the company filed bankruptcy on July 21.

“Unfortunately, we have had no other choice but to file bankruptcy and hand over accounts and any remaining income to our liquidator,” the company said in a statement.

Simply put, the revenue being generated by the business drastically reduced over the first half of 2015, without enough income to cover operational costs.”

“Additional support, advertising, incentives and training had been provided to existing and new agents to try and aid their growth and development to increase sales.”

“As a last resort to find more experienced agents, the shareholders invested a considerable amount into a heavy recruitment drive in the first half of 2015, using recruitment agencies in both Dubai and the UK. However, the fruits of this process did not transpire in time to save the organization.”

Bhatia said that bigger real estate companies in Dubai have recruited 4 per cent to 7 per cent new staff in the last 12 to 18 months.

“The roles in demand depend very much on the individual company and what area they’re focusing their growth on. Some that have launched new projects have recruited new sales executives, some have diversified and increased capacity in facilities management or leasing for example,” said Bhatia.

“It’s not yet clear how much recruitment we’ll see in the coming 12 months, but so far, there are no plans for reductions.”

Source: Cleofe Maceda, Senior Web Reporter,