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Engineers quit depressed UK to work in Middle East

Engineers in the UK are increasingly seeking jobs in the Middle East following the downturn in the UK construction sector.

Recruitment consultant Beresford Blake Thomas (BBT) said 600 UK candidates were seeking jobs in the Middle East in April but by September, that number had risen to 1,600. This comes despite a downturn in the Dubai property sector and the news that developers are shedding hundreds of staff .

This week developer Nakheel joined Damac and Tameer in confirming job cuts. The firm said it would shed 500 staff or 15% of its total workforce. "We have the responsibility to adjust our short term business plans to accommodate the current global environment. The redundancies are indeed regrettable, but a necessity dictated by operational requirements which are in turn dependent on demand," said a Nakheel spokesman.

But BBT is upbeat about employment prospects in Abu Dhabi and other Gulf states. "In spite of the global economic slowdown, there are still thousands of construction related vacancies in the Middle East," said BBT chief executive Peter Reynolds. "One of our clients has more than 700 jobs to fill and companies are looking to the UK and other parts of the world for workers because there isn’t enough local talent."

He said contractors, consultants and clients are streamlining their recruitment processes to be able to take up some of the new staff available in the market. "One construction manager was recently hired by a construction company in Abu Dhabi in a day, simply on the strength of his CV," said Reynolds.

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