x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Hanging on, to make it work somehow

Jessica Sarginson is not making an income from her post-redundancy career yet - but for the 28-year-old Briton, that is better than the alternative.

Jessica Sarginson, after being made redundant, started an internet-based property listing company.
Jessica Sarginson, after being made redundant, started an internet-based property listing company.

Jessica Sarginson is not making an income from her post-redundancy career yet - but for the 28-year-old Briton, that is better than the alternative. With the exception of a two-year break, Ms Sarginson has lived and worked in Dubai since 2000, setting up a life and even eventually meeting her husband here. In 2006, she landed a job easily in the then booming property sector. But last November, the industry was slammed by the economic downturn, and things changed "almost overnight".

"The company I was with had to let some people go but stayed open on a skeleton staff, including myself," Ms Sarginson said. "But in the end, they just couldn't make enough money, so had to close down altogether." Her job was among many in the property sector that simply disappeared. "It was quite frightening, especially because I was in what I thought was a stable job and doing well. But as the company downsized, it became more and more real."

Ms Sarginson was lucky enough to be temporarily absorbed into another company with a former colleague. The pair used their experience working in the UAE property market to develop an internet-based business linking property sellers with buyers. The business aims to charge a flat fee for listing properties on its website. Given the state of the market, however, Ms Sarginson and her partner are waiving the charge as they build the business and hang on to life in Dubai.

"There was a period when I thought that I would have to leave, as others have. "But I wanted to do everything that I could so that I could stay," she said. "I didn't want to go back to England right now, where it might be even more difficult to find a job. I've been here so long and just felt like I had to make it work somehow." @Email:zconstantine@thenational.ae