South African national Yashfika moved to the UAE earlier this month as her husband joined a new job in Abu Dhabi. "Currently, we live in a hotel apartment provided by my husband's employer," she said. "So far, I love it here because the apartment is connected to a mall, and we spend a lot of leisure time there. It is very convenient for us."
Yashfika is among the hundreds of expats that move to the UAE during or after the summer break, a phenomenon that is often termed the September Surge. This year, the number of new expats moving to Dubai has been quite significant- recording a rate of about 71 to 75%- according to property and recruitment company Allsopp & Allsopp.
The September Surge is also why this month is known as the second New Year for many UAE residents, as they opt for new jobs during this time for a new start and better opportunities. According to Allsopp & Allsopp, families begin searching just before it's time to head back to school. In contrast, individuals who are searching to grow in their careers look for new opportunities.
In Yashfika's case, a better job for her husband and the prospect of a good life for their children prompted the family to move to Dubai from Jeddah. "My husband works as a soccer coach, so his work is often contract-based," she said. "When he got offered a good job with a decent package in the UAE, we decided to go for it. The world knows about the UAE, and we thought it would be a great place to raise our kids."
Job change rates
According to Bobby Dhaliwal, Principle Consultant at Allsopp & Allsopp Group, up to 75% of professionals opt to change jobs around September, with the key industries that are seeing people moving around including real estate, automotive, and corporate services. "These industries are now actively working on retaining their staff by taking their sales vacancies to a new high, with average salaries increasing by nearly 10-12%," he said. "Furthermore, demand for roles in sales and marketing skyrocketed by nearly 100%, as demand for quality candidates has increased, so have the budgets for these roles."
Last month, GEMS Education announced that they had the largest intake of teachers in the group's 64-year history, with many new teachers arriving in the UAE over the summer. Among the new teachers welcomed by the group was French teacher Hassen Jaidi, who spent 12 years teaching French in Columbia. He said he wanted to relocate to the UAE to be closer to home.
"I am originally from Tunisia, and my wife is from Columbia," he said. "So, all these years I lived there and now I wanted to be somewhere close to my country. The UAE is such an amazing country, so I applied here and got lucky enough to be selected." He is now in the process of moving his family here as well. "I honestly did not even need to convince my wife," he said. "When she heard UAE, she was very happy to move."
Job change rates
For British expat Amie Rogers, who works as a multimedia designer, it was a relatively easy decision to make to move to Dubai from Birmingham earlier this month. "My salary increase has been 10%, and of course, it is tax-free," she said. "I have been at the job for two weeks and love the culture. I have more work-life balance as my hours are set- something that is rare for a multimedia designer. Overall, I find the work culture much less stressful than my previous jobs."
According to figures released by Allsopp & Allsopp, compared to other places in the region, such as Saudi Arabia, where 66% of residents opt for a job switch, the UAE sees 71% to 75% of the population opt for a change in the workplace annually.
This aligns with how Dubai has developed as a global business hub, welcoming nearly 30,000 to 60,000 new businesses yearly, making it a candidate market. Contrary to the belief that the job market slows during the summer months, Dubai welcomed over 30,000 new businesses in the first half of this year.
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