Dubai among five best global cities to find a job in 2020

The emirate is an attractive option for professional talent looking to start a career in a new city during the pandemic, study finds

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - APRIL 26: The Dubai skyline is seen on April 26, 2020 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 200,000 lives and infecting over 2.9 million people. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

Dubai is among the five best cities in the world to find a job in 2020, according to a new index which measures the best locations for professional talent to relocate in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The city, which came fifth in the ranking by online distance learning platform FutureLearn, scored highly for metrics such as healthcare spending, levels of disposable income, the number of women in leadership positions and opportunities for young people.

Singapore led the ranking of 100 global cities because its economy is expected to suffer only a minimal impact from Covid-19. The Asian city also offers good opportunities for young people and women, has an efficient government and high levels of disposable income. The north European destinations of Copenhagen in Denmark, Helsinki in Finland and Oslo in Norway were ranked in second, third and fourth positions respectively.

"While we can assume that, fundamentally, cities will remain the same, some will be more impacted than others by Covid-19, especially those which rely heavily on tourism,” said Simon Nelson, chief executive at FutureLearn.

“Many industries previously believed working remotely to be impossible, but we are now entering a new era of digitalisation and it seems likely that the pandemic has changed this view entirely. This opens the door for those looking to start a career in a new city right now, as many companies are continuing hiring, interviewing and onboarding remotely.”

The pandemic has led to $17 trillion (Dh62.4tn) being wiped off stock markets worldwide, while movement restrictions and business closures have resulted in millions of job losses and a steep recession that reminds many of the Great Depression during the 1930s.

An average of 50 per cent of people living in France, Italy, and the US, for example, have either lost their jobs entirely or had their earning capacity reduced in some way since the beginning of the pandemic, the FutureLearn study found.

The index analysed pre- and post-Covid-19 economic figures, examining changes in unemployment rates between now and this time last year, how lockdown policies may have affected the economy, as well as statistics on government policy, quality of life and gender equality to determine the best cities for career opportunities.

Dubai had the highest level of healthcare spending in the ranking with a score of 100 out of 100. It also scored well for the number of women in leadership roles with a score of 96.52; for disposable income with a score of 95.62 and for youth opportunities with a score of 93.8 out of 100.

The city also received a high Covid-19 impact on the economy score, which indicates it will be less severely affected than other cities around the world.

Michael Kortbawi, partner at Dubai law firm BSA Ahmad Bin Hezeem & Associates, said that it has recently seen a surge in the number of high net-worth individuals (HNWI) looking to relocate their place of residence to Dubai.

"This came as a direct result of the manner in which Dubai addressed the impact of Covid-19 in respect of the continuity of businesses and safety of individuals," he said.

"Due to Dubai's visionary approach on e-government and a state- of- the-art infrastructure, Dubai was able to implement strict precautionary measures in response to the risks associated with the spread of Covid-19 in a way that did not affect the living conditions of the people and the nature of services they are used to receive."

With many government services continuing normally throughout the lockdown and businesses adopting remote working systems that ensured business continuity, Mr Kortbawi said it meant that services provided to individuals, from healthcare to standard day-to-day living requirements, were not affected, something HNWIs are concerned about when relocating their businesses and residences.

Meanwhile, Seoul was the city estimated to experience the least economic disruption from the pandemic, with Hong Kong and Tokyo taking second and third position in that measure.

“With global travel essentially ground to a halt currently, it might seem strange and daunting to consider moving city or country for a job. However, as borders open and travel resumes, career opportunities will open up for those looking to experience working and living in a new culture,” said FutureLearn's Mr Nelson.