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UAE salary guide: what you should be paid in 2019

The UAE continues to see strong demand from international brands that are looking to open retail outlets, pushing the region into position as the seventh most popular destination for retail expansion, according to a recent study. According to the Robert Half 2019 Salary Guide, organisations within the Middle East are attempting to attract more digital talent through a range of workplace initiatives, such as work environment modernisation (86 percent), training and development (81percent) and improved compensation packages (79 percent). The speed at which the economy is growing has become a concern for 37 percent of organisations, which struggle to find qualified talent to help them remain competitive. The trend for UAE businesses is to streamline remuneration packages, while retaining the competitive edge that is crucial in attracting and retaining talent.

UAE online travel sales to exceed Dh17 billion in 2018

The value of UAE online travel sales in 2018 is forecast to reach Dh17.3 billion, driven by a growing population, an increasing number of tourists and UAE residents’ shift towards digital services, new analysis from the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry has revealed. The analysis, based on recent data from Euromonitor International, found that direct online sales in 2018 are expected to hit Dh9 billion, supported by higher airline sales. Meanwhile, Dh8.3 billion worth of online sales from intermediary companies were accounted for during the same year. Online travel sales through intermediary companies recorded a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26.1 percent between 2013 and 2018, compared to 12.5 percent CAGR for direct travel online sales over the same period. The analysis also predicted a faster growth for intermediate travel bookings companies over the next five years, as UAE travellers increasingly turn to online platforms to research, book travel and accommodation, and take advantage of special deals. In 2018, online mobile travel sales in the UAE are forecast to reach a record Dh2.9 billion, marking a 25 percent growth rate compared to the previous year. Over the 2013-2018 period, a 34.3 percent CAGR was seen for UAE mobile travel sales and it is expected that this market will continue to grow at a CAGR of around 16.4 percent over the next five years, thanks to the availability of high-quality mobile apps, many of which target the Arabic-speaking population. Leisure tourism accounted for 52 percent of the intermediaries’ online travel sales in the UAE, with the value of transactions in this category expected to reach Dh4.3 billion by the end of 2018. Air travel dominated sales in this category, claiming 54.7 percent of total sales transactions, followed by lodging at 22 percent, holiday packages at 19.5 percent and other travel online services at 3.8 percent.

United Arab Emirates – Economic Indicators
Overview Last Reference Previous
GDP Annual Growth Rate (%) 0.8 Dec/17 3
Unemployment Rate (%) 1.72 Dec/17 1.64
Inflation Rate (%) 1.3 Nov/18 1.6
Interest Rate (%) 2.75 Dec/18 2.5
Balance of Trade (AED Million) 315100 Dec/17 251400
Current Account (AED Million) 971000 Dec/17 48500
Current Account to GDP (%) 7.3 Dec/17 3.8
Government Debt to GDP (%) 20.7 Dec/17 20.7
Government Budget (% of GDP) -2.6 Dec/17 -3.9
Manufacturing PMI 55.8 Nov/18 55
Consumer Confidence (Index Points) 111 Sep/18 116
Corporate Tax Rate (%) 0 Dec/18 0
Personal Income Tax Rate (%) 0 Dec/18 0
Dubai duty free annual sales reach dh7.3 billion in 2018

Dubai Duty Free has announced that annual sales for 2018 were recorded at Dh7.356 billion, representing a 4.31 percent increase over the previous year. The retailer crossed the Dh7.3 billion milestone on December 29. In addition, the operation’s 35th anniversary day on December 20, when customers were offered a 25 percent discount on a range of products, resulted in a huge surge in sales with 103,626 transactions recorded on the day amounting to Dh106.80 million in the 24-hour period. Reflecting on another memorable year at Dubai Duty Free, Colm McLoughlin, executive vice-chairman and CEO at Dubai Duty Free, said: “We are pleased to announce such a positive year in 2018, which marked our 35th anniversary and the crossing of the $2 billion mark. The entire team at Dubai Duty Free has worked hard to provide passengers with a first-class shopping experience at both Dubai International and Al Maktoum International.” The five top selling categories for the year included perfumes, cosmetics and electronics. Sales of perfumes reached Dh1.101 billion and contributed 14.97 percent towards total sales. Meanwhile, cosmetics recorded sales of Dh762.43 million and electronics sales reached Dh595.32 million, with these two categories showing an increase of 21.77 percent and 8.82 percent year on year, respectively. Sales of watches rose by 2.66 percent to Dh531.56 million and accounted for 7.23 percent of annual sales. Gold followed with sales of Dh489.86 million, accounting for 6.66 percent of total sales, while confectionery recorded sales of Dh475.85 million and accounted for 6.47 percent contribution. Sales in departures rose by 6.12 percent to Dh6.499 billion over the previous year and accounted for 88.35 percent of total 2018 sales. The operation has also recorded a total of 25,507,998 sales transactions for the year with 68,755,388 pieces of merchandise sold.

A One-Stop-Shop for local designers

Faisal Falaknaz, a Wharton MBA and a CFA charter holder, recognised a gap in the e-commerce space while he was pursuing his degree. He realised that the popularity of online shopping and purchases on social media, Instagram in particular, were growing. He also noticed that despite facing many difficulties – limited payment options, communication with the sellers and consumer rights, etc. – people were still eager to buy online, mainly because of the unique nature of those products. With the intention to streamline the consumer experience, he came up with the idea of Boksha, an online marketplace for independent fashion designers. “We thought a lot about what niche to focus on and decided that fashion was the way to go. There are a growing number of independent fashion designers in the region, with many people preferring to either work from home.


Dubai’s 2019 budget to accelerate economic activities

Dubai’s 2019 budget with a focus on infrastructure and social development as well as job creation will accelerate economic activities and strengthen the emirate’s position as one of the most preferred destinations for global businesses, analysts said. Dr Hadi Shahid, managing partner, Alliott Hadi Shahid Chartered Accountants, said infrastructure spending will accelerate economic activities and help generate more employment opportunities. “It’s a pleasant surprise that His Highness Sheikh Mohammed has announced a surplus budget with good news that almost 2,500 new jobs will be created,” he said. “Given vibrant activities in all sectors of the economy, 2019 seems to be a better year,” he said. On Tuesday, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced a Dh56.8 billion budget for 2019 as compared to last year’s Dh56.6 billion budget and revenues of Dh51 billion, an increase of 1.2 percent year on year. In 2019, Dubai will continue supporting social services, including health, education and housing, as well as developing the Social Benefits Fund and supporting families, with the aim of making the emirate one of the most liveable cities in the world.

Dubai issues 1,882 instant licences

The Business Registration and Licensing (BRL) sector in the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai reported that 1,882 instant licences, which are issued within five minutes, were issued after the service was launched in July 2017 until the end of 2018. Among the instant licences issued, 1,641 were commercial (87 percent) and 241 in the professional (13 percent) category. The instant licence enables businessmen to obtain their commercial licences in one step within five minutes without having a company’s lease or location for the first year only. They only have to present these documents for renewal. The initiative reduces the time required for business registration procedures and licence issuance by 90 percent. The initiative has recently won the first rank in the Global Continual Improvement & Innovation Competition & Award organised by the Dubai Quality Group in the category of Kaizen (services). The number of instant licence owners reached 6,100 as of today, with men accounting for 88 percent and women 12 percent of the total instant licence holders. Indian businessmen hold the largest number of instant licences issued so far, followed by the nationals of Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, China, Britain, Sudan, Jordan, Bangladesh and Canada. All business activities can benefit from the service, except public and private shareholding companies, through the various outsourced service centres in Dubai, and the Happiness and Smart Lounges 24×7. Holders of general trade licences can only use electronic services.

Dubai to create 2,498 jobs in Dh56.8b budget for 2019

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, approved Dubai’s budget for 2019 with total expenditures of Dh56.8 billion. General revenues are estimated at Dh51 billion this year, up 1.2 percent from 2018. General and administrative expenses, grants and subsidies represent 47 percent of total expenditure, which is up by 5 percent. While expenditure on the health, education and housing sectors represents 33 percent of the total budget. The disciplined financial policies of the Government of Dubai achieved an operating surplus of Dh850 million.

Emirates announces return of ‘my emirates pass’

Emirates has announced the return of My Emirates Pass, an exclusive seasonal pass that turns an Emirates boarding pass into an exclusive membership package, allowing customers to take advantage of discounts and benefits in over 500 locations across the UAE. Emirates passengers travelling to and through Dubai from January 1 until March 31, 2019 can benefit from My Emirates Pass privileges across participating retail and leisure outlets simply by presenting their boarding pass, and a valid form of identification. Customers can take advantage of special offers across retail outlets and various leisure activities, including: up to 30 percent discount on spa treatments; up to 50 percent off on outdoor activities such as water sports and access to night golf courses; up to 50 percent discount on fine dining; and up to 30 percent off on popular shopping outlet stores. Mohammad Al Hashimi, Emirates’ vice president, Commercial Products Dubai, said: “We are very pleased to announce the return of our signature Emirates Pass this winter, encouraging visitors to explore all corners of the UAE.

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