x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Omniyat cuts jobs amid slowdown

This is the latest Dubai developer to make staff redundancies as it rethinks the timing of new project launches.

The Dubai government-owned developer, Meraas Holding, said its few job cuts this month were not unusual and it would continue to hire new staff.
The Dubai government-owned developer, Meraas Holding, said its few job cuts this month were not unusual and it would continue to hire new staff.

Omniyat Properties is the latest Dubai developer to make staff redundancies as it rethinks the timing of new project launches, the company confirmed yesterday. Alex Andarakis, the company's managing director of sales and marketing, said jobs would be lost as the firm assessed its resourcing needs in light of the global and regional slowdown in the property market. He declined to reveal how many employees would be let go, although sources close to the firm have said about 60 jobs are likely to be axed.

The job cuts, which could be announced later this week, are expected to be made across the company's development, sales and marketing divisions. "From what is happening globally, regionally and locally, investor confidence has taken a psychological blow," Mr Andarakis said. "We have a number of projects in the pipeline, which will be brought to the market when conditions can cope with them. Considering this, there are likely to be some redundancies, given the fact that we are not yet launching projects which are still under development. So the intensity of the resources requirement is not there yet."

Omniyat is the developer behind unusually designed projects such as the iPod-shaped The Pad and the cube-shaped The Opus. Both of these are under construction. Other projects including One Business Bay, Bayswater and The Square are expected to be delivered early next year. Mr Andarakis added that the company's international plans were still on track. The latest wave of redundancies follows Damac Properties's decision this week to axe 200 jobs across its sales, marketing, recruitment and administration divisions. The chief executive at Damac, Peter Riddoch, said the job losses were "inevitable" in light of a severe slowdown in the global property market.

Meraas Holding, a recently established Dubai Government-owned developer that announced its Dh350 billion (US$95.2bn) Jumeirah Gardens development at Dubai's Cityscape last month, has also recently made some members of staff redundant, although it said the move was not related to the company's performance. A source close to the company said the jobs had been lost across the sales, marketing, legal and human resources departments.

"Meraas Holding confirms the departure of a few members of staff during this month," the company said. "This is not an unusual occurrence for a company of its size or stature, most corporations face staff turnover as they seek to introduce new practices and standards in a growing market. The departures were in the wake of a recent organisational review, and are not related to the fortunes of the business or its performance."

Despite the redundancies, Meraas said it was continuing to add to its workforce of about 200. "As part of its growth plans the business continues to attract new talent with in excess of 20 new staff due to commence with Meraas Development this month alone to add to its existing 200-strong workforce." Other developers are reviewing their staffing needs. "Define Properties is currently evaluating its workforce's performance, however, no official announcements have been made at this time," said Tarek Kandil, the president and chief executive of Define Properties, which has gradually built a workforce of 99 since launching in June.

"In principle, Define Properties believes in right-sizing given the current circumstances, and reiterates its confidence in the UAE real estate market, which is undergoing a period of stabilisation that can only be beneficial in the long run." agiuffrida@thenational.ae * additional reporting by Bradley Hope