Mega projects, Saudi working week and female earning power
The ‘Mega Projects’ are back
The economic upturn in the UAE has made its comeback with the announcement of several ‘Mega Projects’. Plans include a new ‘world’s largest shopping mall’ to eclipse the current Dubai Mall. Part of the wider development will also lay claim to ‘the world’s largest park,’ which plans show will be 30% bigger than Hyde Park. The multi-billion dirham projects are reminiscent of the development plans pre 2008, where a gigantic theme park planned for DubaiLand proposed an elephant-shaped hotel and a Las Vegas-style strip. The World, another doomed mega project languishing off the UAE’s coast, remains a stark reminder of the credit crunch. But optimistic developers are not letting such ghosts dampen their enthusiasm, with an off-shore man-made island theme park in the pipeline, as well as a bizarre, underwater hotel complex, called the Water Discus, which has been proposed by the Swiss firm BIG InvestConsult and designed by the Polish company Deep Ocean Technology. Read more here.
Saudi working week will increase business opportunities
The working week in Saudi Arabia which is set to change this weekend, switching from the traditional Thursday/Friday to Friday/Saturday, will mean more businesses based in Saudi and the UAE can enjoy an additional joined working day. The Kingdom will share four working days with the international community too, rather than three, which has proved detrimental to businesses with links to North America and Europe. Benefits of the change include helping to integrate the Gulf economies, improved working conditions for employees (who often end up on duty during weekends to make up for the lack of corresponding work days with the rest of the GCC and beyond) and better trade opportunities with foreign countries. Hannes Reinisch, a consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers said, ‘The whole consulting industry is cheering.’ Read more here.
Women earning AED11,000 less than men
Just when you thought equality in the workplace was on track, a new survey has revealed that the disposable income gap between the genders in the Middle East And Africa is the largest in the world – with men enjoying AED11,000 per year more than women. While women still hold the purchasing power, Euromonitor International, which measured disposable income rather than earning power, also revealed the disparity might not be down to descrimination. Rather, it is more likely to be down to less women in the workforce, as the level of education among women in the Middle East region is of a comparatively high standard. In 2012, for example, the female employment rate in GCC countries accounted for 44% of the ‘economically active female population.’ For more, read on.