UAE: Job Seekers Inundate Recruiters as Credit Crisis Deepens


Job-seekers lured to UAE

ABU DHABI - OCT 12: Worried professionals anxiously seeking refuge from the global credit crisis are inundating recruiters and companies with job applications.

One recruitment company reported a ten-fold jump in applications in the past two months.

Bankers, estate agents and financial staff from the United States and Britain are leading the charge as shocks to the world economy force companies to consider cutting jobs.

They are drawn to the UAE and its economic and employment boom, which so far has escaped the worst effects of the credit crunch.

Richard Ross, London manager of recruitment consulting firm UAE Staffing, said: “As soon as the credit crunch started we got a lot more applications from the real estate, finance and construction sectors.”

Perhaps underscoring the nervousness in job markets abroad, some applicants have taken to making personal pleas too, Mr Ross said.

“People do not just send their résumés, but also write about the problems they are facing. You have guys who have worked in the property business for 12 years who have not been able to sell anything for three or four months.”

Mr Ross said the number of applications from the US, especially, had increased several fold since August.

“We used to get five résumés a day from the US. Now we can get 50. But this is only the tip of the iceberg; I’m sure it will get even busier. The UAE right now is one of the top 10 spots in the world for jobs.”

Nizar Lalani, UAE manager for recruiters Antal International, said applications from North America and Western Europe had doubled since June.

“There is a lot of downsizing and people are scared of being laid off because they have seen it happen to their colleagues.

“A week back, I met a guy who received an offer from Lehman Brothers and he was about to join them when it all collapsed. He had not resigned from his job, luckily, but he could see his company was going the same way so he decided to explore the market here.

“Dubai has marketed itself very well. It is providing growth and opportunities, quality of life and a secure environment.”

Mr Lalani said there were enough jobs to cope with the rising demand because the rate of growth was so high in the UAE.

According to Google Insights, which tracks rising trends by analysing the number of Google searches, queries for “jobs” and “Dubai” as well as “jobs” and “Abu Dhabi” have never before been as popular as in the past month.

People from Australia, the US, Britain, Canada, India and Pakistan in particular have been seeking jobs in Abu Dhabi.

Searches for jobs in Dubai peaked on Sept 29, two weeks after the Lehman Brothers bank collapsed. Abu Dhabi peaked the next day.

Natalie Harris, 34, a former asset manager from London who recently returned to Britain from Thailand, is visiting the UAE on a three-week job hunt.

“Hiring is taking longer in the UK and people are a lot more selective about who they hire,” she said. “It has really changed from a year ago.

“Everything sounds so much more positive in the UAE, and people are more optimistic.

“A lot of people are going over to the UAE and most people know at least one person who is there, so you hear good feedback.”

William Buck, the Middle East director of the recruiting firm Macdonald and Company, said applications from North Americans and Europeans looking to work in the UAE property sector had tripled in the past six months.

Partly as a result of the boom, his company had hired more staff. “Over the last two months in particular, we have been inundated,” he said. “If you are a property professional who has been involved in developing projects right from the beginning, there is a job for you.

“But the first batch of CVs we started getting this summer were all from people with experience in property investment, who were the first people to be hit by the credit crunch. There are just not that many jobs of that kind in this part of the world.”

Mr Buck said there was a risk of applicants seeking to move to the UAE as an escape only, without being committed to several years of work.

“You used to get a certain type of person coming to work here. But how can you guarantee they are committed to staying here now?

“Is it a stopgap for them or a long-term commitment? Who knows? But we are certain to get more people coming here for the short term.”


Stigma blamed for needless deaths

ABU DHABI - OCT 12:There will be a sharp increase in the number of cases of prostate cancer in the UAE if men do not start being screened for the disease, a leading expert has warned.

Caught and treated early, the disease has a cure rate of more than 90 per cent, according to the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Despite it being one of the most common forms of cancer found in men in the UAE, a lingering stigma means it is usually not diagnosed until it is too late.

“The majority of men we see coming to this hospital present with end-stage cancer, when it is not curable,” said Dr Waleed Hassen, the chief of the urology department at Tawam Hospital in Al Ain. He called the situation “a travesty”.

Men between the ages of 25 and 50 make up the largest age group in the UAE, according to census figures, meaning a critical mass are approaching the screening age of 50. Without screening, prostate cancer continues to develop, taking up to 15 years for any symptoms to appear. By then, it is too late.

“Early screening saves lives,” said Dr Hassen. “There is no question about it.”

He has seen men who are paralysed, yet who are visiting a doctor for the first time. When symptoms do occur, they can include not being able to urinate or needing to urinate often, especially at night, erectile dysfunction or frequent pain in the lower back, hips or upper thighs.

Unlike many other cancers such as brain tumours or leukaemia, a prostate cancer sufferer usually only starts experiencing symptoms when the cancer spreads from the prostate gland, located in the pelvis, to other parts of the body, often the bones. At that point, treatment is more invasive and complicated.

Recent years have seen major drives in other countries, such as the United States and Britain, to promote awareness of prostate cancer and set up national screening programmes.

Yet in the UAE, screening is almost “non-existent”, said Dr Hassen.

“The reason why it is so important to be screened is because, firstly, we can detect cancers at a much earlier stage when the patients are potentially curable,” said Dr Hassen. “And secondly, they are curable with less chance of it affecting their quality of life.”

According to the UAE National Cancer Registry, where some but not all hospitals report their figures, there was a 212 per cent increase in the number of men being diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1998 and 2006. The registry showed 16 males were diagnosed in 1998, jumping to 50 in 2006.

Dr Hassen is adamant that men above 50 – 45 if there is a family history of the disease – need to get over their embarrassment surrounding this type of cancer. There are two tests used to detect prostate cancer in the absence of symptoms: a blood test to find prostate specific antigen (PSA), a substance produced by the cells of the prostate, and a rectal examination to check whether the prostate is enlarged.

If the cancer is found in early stages, there are modern treatments using minimally invasive surgery available to treat it, said Dr Hassen.

This month Daman, the national insurance company in Abu Dhabi, added free annual prostate cancer screening to its plans for all men over the age of 45.

“Including the free annual screening in our list of benefits is one thing, but to actually go out in the media stressing on the issue and drawing attention to it is trickier,” said Dr Ezzat Ajami, the company’s network director. “Internationally, prostate cancer is a touchy subject and in this region it is probably even more so.”


Doctors warn of heart disease risks

ABU DHABI - OCT 12: Doctors at a symposium warned of the hidden risks of cardiac disease, which can come without symptoms, leaving people unaware that they have it until they have strokes or heart attacks.

Medical professionals met at Al Raha Beach Hotel on Friday to discuss how to prevent and raise awareness of cardiovascular disease. It causes 28 per cent of all deaths in the UAE and is the country’s most prevalent preventable killer.

“Cardiovascular disease is one of the biggest problems in the world,” said Dr Norbert Augustin, chairman of the hospital’s department of cardiac sciences. “Most patients are not aware that they have a problem. You don’t feel it. There are no symptoms.”

The risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes and high cholesterol, Dr Augustin said. “Usually it is a silent risk. It’s a big problem. You could have a problem for years, which could affect the whole body, including the heart and the brain.”

Dr Sherif Baker, a consultant cardiologist from the hospital, made his point more bluntly than other speakers.

“Obesity equals heart disease equals death,” he said. While he acknowledged that genetics play a role in the prevalence of heart disease in the UAE, he blamed a modern lifestyle for the damage people inflict on their bodies.

“Eating is the most important pleasure now in life,” he said. “God didn’t create us for McDonald’s. He created us for a productive life.”

Dr Abdulrazak Alkaddour said stop-smoking campaigns should focus on shisha as well as cigarettes. “One hour of shisha has 100 to 200 times the volume of smoke from a single cigarette,” he said.

He called for anti-smoking advertisements on cigarette packages similar to those mandated in Canada, which graphically illustrate the dangers of smoking. Cigarette sales have fallen in Canada since the warnings were introduced.

Dr Augustin said doctors need to tell their patients more about how to be healthy. “We want to encourage and educate the doctors with these lectures to persuade patients to take care of their health,” he said

Most people are aware their habits are unhealthy, he said. But doctors need to explain what they can do to make themselves healthier.


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Title: UAE: Job Seekers Inundate Recruiters as Credit Crisis Deepens

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