The UAE created nearly 250,000 jobs in the retail, finance, technology and telecommunications sectors in 2020 despite the Covid-19 pandemic that dented trade globally and severely impacted the job market.
The country, the second biggest Arab economy, added 100,000 jobs in the retail and e-commerce sector and 148,000 jobs in the finance, technology and telecommunications sectors last year, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, UAE Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, said in a tweet on Saturday.
“Crisis management creates opportunities … and crises in management destroy gains,” Sheikh Mohammed said on Twitter.
This boost to the job market in the UAE came despite the global economy shrinking 3.3 per cent last year. It slumped into its worst recession as the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted trade, paralysed travel and forced countries into lockdowns that led to higher unemployment and poverty, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Global trade contracted 8.5 per cent in 2020, according to the fund’s estimates. Some 8.8 per cent of global working hours were lost last year due to the pandemic, roughly four times the number lost in the 2008 financial crisis, according to the International Labour Organisation.
The UAE reacted quickly to the pandemic-driven slowdown, rolling out economic stimulus measures to help businesses and residents weather the impact of the crisis. Overall, the country has unveiled economic support packages worth at least Dh388 billion since the onset of the pandemic.
Dubai was among the first cities to re-open its borders to international tourists in July 2020, after putting rigorous health in safety measures in place, which helped boost the hospitality and retail sectors.
While 2020 was a tough year for brick-and-mortar retailers, the pandemic has accelerated the boost in the e-commerce sector as more consumers shopped from home amid Covid-10 restrictions.
In the UAE, the increase in online consumer spending in 2020 was mainly driven by a 21 per cent annual jump in the number of online shops, in addition to a 44 per cent annual surge in the number of high-volume e-commerce trading partners last year, according to Mastercard.
The technology sector has also benefitted from additional investments during the pandemic as businesses created more innovative solutions for telehealth, remote working and learning from home.