Abu Dhabi study shows confidence in business rebound this year despite pandemic
In a survey of 8,000 people, 73% of respondents are concerned about rising unemployment but 78% are optimistic about their own job security
More than half of those living in Abu Dhabi surveyed by the government remained upbeat about their own prospects even though most expect unemployment to rise.
In a survey of 8,804 people on business and employment prospects, 76 per cent of respondents believe the aftermath of Covid-19 will continue to be felt, although 59 per cent are confident that their employers will be back on a solid footing before the end of this year, according to results released by Abu Dhabi’s Department of Community Development and Statistics Centre-Abu Dhabi yesterday.
“While there is inevitably concern, it is promising to see signs of optimism too, with many people feeling that businesses are well positioned to innovate and change and feeling optimistic about their own career situation,” Muna Al Bahar, adviser to the chairman of DCD, said.
The Life After Covid-19 study examined perceptions of how life in the emirate will be changed by the pandemic.
While 73 per cent of respondents are concerned that unemployment will rise, more than three quarters are optimistic about their own job security, with 68 per cent believing that their income will remain unaffected after the pandemic.
Loss of income was ranked lowest among people’s ongoing concerns, below the health risk to themselves and their families and a possible return of the virus, the survey found.
In terms of work practices, 69 per cent of respondents believe working from home will become more prevalent, with 43 per cent preferring to work remotely, mainly to reduce the risk of infection.
Of those surveyed, 83 per cent feel that the post-Covid environment will create opportunities for businesses to be more innovative, with the same proportion saying that more businesses will move online.
The survey, 41 per cent of whose respondents were male and 59 female, is designed to guide policymaking, overcome the challenges of Covid-19 and improve the quality of life for UAE residents.
“This insight is crucial to our understanding of the current situation and how people’s perception of the future is changing,” Ms Al Bahar said.
“This survey will play an important role in helping us support government bodies and authorities to develop innovative solutions to cope with life after Covid-19.”
The Abu Dhabi government unveiled a stimulus programme on March 16 to boost the economy and support businesses in the emirate.
About Dh5 billion has been allocated to measures to relieve pressure on businesses, with water and electricity subsidies granted for citizens and commercial and industrial activities.
Electricity connection fees for start-ups were waived until the end of this year and all commercial and industrial activities have been exempted from Tawtheeq fees this year.
The government also allocated Dh3bn through a credit guarantee scheme for small to medium-sized enterprises, dedicated Dh1bn to establish a market-maker fund to bring stability to stock prices and directed that all approved government payables and invoices be settled in 15 working days.
The emirate has also waived Dh246 million in penalties – a move that will benefit about 72,200 private companies, it said.
Updated: July 5, 2020 02:07 AM