The UAE was the fastest growing GCC country in 2021. The country’s GDP grew 3.8 % (compared to a growth of 3.2 % in Saudi Arabia).

Data from the Statistics Centre of Abu Dhabi showed a growth in Abu Dhabi’s economy of 1.9 % last year, Dubai’s estimated growth is 6.5 % in 2021. As Covid-19 restrictions were eased, the recovery was most evident in the retail trade sector, wholesale and manufacturing.

Expo 2020 helped Dubai to recover strongly. The relaxation of travel restrictions contributed to a boost in the tourism and hospitality sector. Hotel occupancy bounced back to pre-Covid levels.

The outlook for the GCC region remains very optimistic. The rise in oil & gas prices resulting in expected fiscal surpluses will increase government spending, leading to re-activation and implementation of large-scale projects in several countries.

Recent reforms in personal and business laws in the UAE will continue to drive FDI and attract international talent. The UAE labour market is in an upswing. Companies re-hire talent (released during the pandemic) and open new job opportunities related to increased business opportunities in the region. The implementation of new visa types in the UAE (such as part-time visa, remote working visa) lead to an influx of international talent. Strict Covid-19 regulations in Asia and Europe also increased the attractiveness of the GCC labour markets, recently especially the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

The outlook for the UAE labour market also remains very optimistic as international companies from all kinds of industrial sectors keep finding in the UAE an attractive market to open their Middle Eastern headquarters.