SKILLED HUMAN RESOURCE BEING ABSORBED IN THE UAE MARKET, A POSITIVE SIGN FOR INCREASING WORKER REMITTANCES
SAAD ANWAR HASHMI
Nov 12 - 18, 2012
UAE is a thriving region with economic development where jobs are created attracting skilled workers from all parts of the world. The UAE market experienced downturn after 2009 with slowdown in creation of jobs due to global recession. Pressure was created on the construction with declining rent and property prices. The market in 2012 is showing signs of recovery and jobs are being created once again attracting those skilled to enter the Middle East market for a career. Strategically located, UAE is paramount trade and finance attracting inflow of workers. As part of long term business strategy, UAE has invested in infrastructure and projects to attract and support business growth. Heavy investments are being made to make UAE a tourist destination through building of shopping malls and various recreational activities from desert sports, water sports and theme parks to name a few. With influx of such projects and footprint of international companies, there is a constant need for workforce being pulled from adjoining countries mainly Pakistan, India, Sri lanka, Saudi Arabia, Egypt along with USA and Europe.
In order to attract new businesses, the government is making an effort to diversify from oil into industries which will be substitutes to ensure long term sustainable growth in GDP, estimated to be above 10% year on year. Dubai in particular has invested in amusement and retail infrastructure to induce spending by residents and encourage tourist to earn foreign exchange. In recent times, Dubai in particular has built the Burj Al Arab, Palm Islands, World Islands and the Burj Khalifa as landmark projects which further assists in foreign investment and help attract workers. With such attraction and a thriving job market which has slowly exited the recessionary gap, new jobs are created in various industries. Recruitment businesses and executives search firms to assist such companies in finding the right candidate are running a profitable business and are in high demand for professional services offered.
An encouraging sign for Pakistan's economy are worker remittance which average more than USD 1 billion each month. The country recorded worker remittances of US Dollar 13.2 billion in FY12 as compared to US Dollar 11.2 billion in FY11 seen as a positive sign. Worker remittances reached US Dollar 3.6 billion by September FY13 of which 20 percent is received from UAE alone. It is expected that the inflow of worker remittances will reach USD 15 billion to USD 20 billion by FY13 further encouraged through the Pakistan Remittance Initiative (PRI) scheme recently launched. Lack of employment opportunities due to poor GDP has resulted in large scale migration from the country in search of employment, through it has been seen as a blessing in disguise reflected through influx of worker remittances. Pakistan is ranked among the top 10 developing nations in the world to receive worker remittances. Through it cannot be quantifiable in monetary terms, a sizable portion of inflows through worker remittances are received through illegal channel commonly known as Hawala and particularly common which those who do not have bank accounts. Though this continuing trend is beneficial for the economy to build reserves, reliance cannot be given to working remittances in full since the future pattern of remittances and inflows may change, therefore making such inflows unpredictable. Almost 60% of all remittances in Pakistan are being received from UAE, Saudi Arabia and GCC nations whereas 30% is received from USA and UK being major contributors
One of the biggest attraction is the compensation package offered to those moving from Pakistan or other parts of the world to the UAE constitutes to an immediate rise in overall savings which results in long term financial stability for the employees moving for career options. With a diversified workforce reaching to UAE from other parts of the world, there is also a dire need by companies to have marketing, finance and sale workforce from diversified regions in the world who understand the culture and carry the capacity to close sales and attract business turnover through their dealings. The challenge in this regard is for Emirati's is to compete with the global talent pool.
Pakistanis have a prime advantage to find career operations in UAE since the experience gained domestically is also recognized in UAE due diversity of people. UAE is fast becoming an attractive option for young talent from Pakistan and those who wish to have a head start in their careers working in a different country. For those who live in Pakistan primarily from pay- cheque to pay-cheque, not only are able to earn significantly more, but are also able to enhance the standard of living of immediate and close family through inflow of remittances. The remittances to Pakistan are either sent through the banking channel or exchange companies providing remittance services or via an informal channel which is not encouraged by the central government which potentially supports money laundering.
Continuing which the trend through FY13 of migration to Middle East, it is expected that the more people shift from Pakistan to seek jobs in UAE; it will continue to indirectly benefit Pakistan in the form of foreign flows with worker remittances which are expected to continue. It must also be highlighted that investment in education to pass on such skills to talent capable of landing jobs in UAE or any part of the world will result in remittances as witnessed. The only risk faced by Pakistan which may hinder the inflow of remittance may be political uncertainty and the impending law and order situation which needs to be managed by the government. Pakistan's export base is half of that of imports. With increase in worker remittances, the export of skills from Pakistan may just be viewed as the most valuable export which will guarantee foreign flows to build reserves of the country.