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阿联酋还是遍地黄金的海外工作者乐土吗

更新时间:2019/1/1 10:06:25 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Is the UAE still a high-paid expat haven?
阿联酋还是遍地黄金的海外工作者乐土吗

Alison Simmonds returned to the UK in March after a two-year stint in the United Arab Emirates.

在阿联酋工作了两年之后,西蒙兹(Alison Simmonds)今年三月回到英国。

The communications consultant, who had travelled to the region for work for some years, decided to move out permanently to Dubai in January 2016 in search of some sunshine and a more active social life.

西蒙兹从事通讯咨询的工作,几年前因工作关系到阿联酋出差,2016年1月,她决定彻底搬到迪拜来,想寻觅点阳光和更有活力的社交生活。

But even with “a significant personal and professional network”, it took her more than 12 months to find a suitable job. Even then, it was just a one-year contract.

不过,尽管她“私交和人脉很广”,也花了一年多才找到一份合适的工作,并且那仅是一年的合约工。

Her take-home salary was higher than in the UK because she didn’t have to pay tax but being on a short-term contract gave her limited security. She paid monthly for her car and home, costing more than if she’d had annual leases.

她的到手工资高于在英国的水平,因为无需纳税,但短期的合约使得她缺乏安全感。每月房租和用于汽车的开销,比按年付的租约花销更大。

Eight weeks before her contract ended, Simmonds, 45, began looking for a new job. “There was just nothing at an acceptable salary, so I came home,” she explains.

45岁的西蒙兹在合约还有8周到期时,开始去寻找新的工作。她解释称,“确实没什么令人满意的薪水,所以我就回来了。”

“I would like to go back at some point in the future, but now does not seem to be the right time. So many people are leaving, and a lot of very experienced and talented people are really struggling to find new positions.”

“我希望在未来的某个时候回迪拜,但现在似乎不是好时机。这么多人都在离开,很多很资深的人才在拼命找新的工作。”

‘Employers’ market’

“雇主市场”

The oil-rich UAE is home to millions of expatriate workers of all levels and nationalities, lured by tax-free salaries and year-round sunshine.

以产油著名的阿联酋吸引了数以百万的侨民,他们来自不同的国家,涵盖各个阶层,吸引他们的是免税工资和终年阳光。

The majority of foreigners live in the main business hubs of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the latter a major tourist destination famous for luxury beach resorts, soaring buildings and glossy shopping malls.

大多数外籍人士住在阿布扎比和迪拜等主要商业枢纽。作为主要旅游景点,迪拜以七星级帆船酒店、摩天高楼和全球最大的购物中心吸引了全世界的目光。

Expatriates have helped to build and populate the UAE, which in 1980 was home to barely one million people, compared to today’s 9.5 million.

侨民参与了阿联酋的建设,也居住于此。1980年,阿联酋仅有100万人,如今有950万人。

For years, the country was known as a place where professionals could earn high salaries and generous packages that included housing, education, healthcare, cars and travel. This allowed prudent expatriates to save, while others embraced a high-end life-style.

多年来,阿联酋以专业人员收入高著称,包括住房、医疗、交通和出行在内的福利丰厚。这让精明的侨民有机会攒钱,其他人则拥抱高端的生活方式。

But like many of its Gulf peers, the UAE’s economy has come under considerable pressure in recent years due to falling oil prices, which has led to a slump in the real estate sector and a squeeze on salaries.

但是与诸多海湾邻国一样,近年来,由于油价下跌,阿联酋的经济遭到重重困阻,导致房地产行业下滑,薪酬紧缩。

“Despite the recovery of global oil prices in 2018, economic growth remains moderate,” explains Keren Uziyel, an analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit in London. She says this was due to OPEC-mandated oil cuts as well as geopolitical factors such as a diplomatic fall-out with Qatar and the US-imposed sanctions on Iran that have affected businesses, especially in Dubai.

总部位于伦敦的经济学人智库(Economist Intelligence Unit)分析师乌齐耶尔(Keren Uziyel)称,“虽然2018年全球油价回升,但经济保持适度增长。”她说这是由于石油输出国组织(OPEC)决定原油减产,以及地缘政治的因素,比如与卡塔尔的断交,美国对伊朗实施制裁等,对企业造成了负面影响,这在迪拜尤其严重。

The introduction of 5% VAT in January – a government move to plug revenue gaps from lower oil prices – created a perception of the UAE becoming a costlier business hub, Uziyel added. It also “considerably affected private consumption” due to higher costs for food, leisure activities and consumer goods, she says.

乌齐耶尔补充道,阿联酋政府于今年1月推出了5%的增值税,用以弥补油价下跌带来的税收鸿沟,这让人们觉得,阿联酋正在成为一个成本更加高昂的商业枢纽。她表示,由于餐饮、娱乐和消费的成本增高,也对个人花销产生了巨大影响。

On paper, the UAE’s GDP growth for 2019 is forecast at a healthy 3.7%, says the IMF, but according to the Dubai Economy Tracker Index, published in November by local bank Emirates NBD, private sector growth fell to its lowest rate in two and half years and the employment index posted a contraction for the second consecutive month.

国际货币基金组织(IMF)称,理论上,2019年阿联酋的国内生产总值预计将以3.7%稳步增长,但根据迪拜国民银行11月发布的“迪拜经济追踪指数”(Dubai Economy Tracker Index),私营部门的增长率跌至两年半间的最低水平,就业指数连续两个月出现收缩。

In a recent article, the Wall Street Journal said Dubai was experiencing a “White Collar Recession”.  One local economist said he felt this was an overstatement and remained “cautiously optimistic” on growth, but he accepted the economy was undergoing a “correction” as it matured.

《华尔街日报》最近的一篇报道称,迪拜正陷入“白领衰退”。但一位迪拜的经济学家认为这有点过分夸大,称自己对经济增长保持谨慎乐观,但同时认为,随着经济趋于成熟,目前正在经历一场“调整”。

Chris Greaves, managing director of recruitment firm Hays in the Middle East, says companies are “extremely cost conscious at the moment”.

中东人才管理咨询公司瀚纳仕(Hays)的总监格里弗斯(Chris Greaves)称,现在企业都“具有高度的成本意识”。

According to his agency’s 2018 Salary and Employment Report, a third of companies surveyed said they were reducing headcount. More than half said there would be no salary increases.

根据他所在机构刊发的《2018年收入与就业报告》(2018 Salary and Employment Report),三分之一的受访企业表示正在裁员,半数以上称不会有加薪。

“Some firms are cutting salaries to be able to maintain headcount,” Greaves says. “It’s also not uncommon to see companies make salary offers below a candidate’s existing package and for the person to still take the job. It is definitely an employers’ market right now.”

“一些机构正采取降薪的办法维持员工人数。”格里弗斯说,“现在很常见的情况是,企业提供的薪资福利低于求职者现有的薪酬水平,但求职者仍然会接受这份工作。毫无疑问,现在是雇主市场。”

Shrinking salaries

收入缩水

Rohini Gill, a partner in Dubai-based HR management firm GGC Consultancy, says the UAE’s job market has “changed considerably” in the last few years.

总部位于迪拜的人力资源管理公司GGC Consultancy的合伙人吉尔(Rohini Gill)表示,过去几年阿联酋就业市场发生了很大变化。

“There has been a huge shift,” she says. “The UAE is no longer considered the hardship post that it was before, so you are no longer getting the big packages including extra money for school fees, health insurance, housing and so on. With the high cost of living here, it’s not making as much financial sense for a lot of people to be here any more.”

“现在变化很大。”她说,“到阿联酋工作不再被人们视为苦差,因此也不会再有包括教育、医保和住房等方面的补助。这里的生活成本很高,因此对很多人来说也不再那么有经济方面的意义了。”

There’s also strong competition: According to Gill, a single job advert could receive as many as 5,000 applications, with many candidates from South East Asia with lower salary expectations.

竞争也很激烈:据吉尔称,一则招聘广告收到的申请达5000份,很多东南亚的求职者对薪酬的期望较低。

Stephanie Hughes, a media content specialist from Hartlepool in the UK, moved out to Dubai four years ago with her husband, who is in construction.

来自英国哈特尔浦的休斯(Stephanie Hughes)是媒体内容专员,四年前与其从事建筑业的丈夫搬到迪拜。

“The market is very slow at the moment and I know so many people that are leaving because they can’t find jobs, or at least not ones that pay enough,” says the mother-of-two. “All the jobs I’m seeing seem to be offering 25% to 30% less that I am on now and it’s not viable when we have schools fees and health insurance to pay.”

这位两个孩子的母亲称,“当时市场很不景气,我知道很多人离开,因为他们找不到工作,或至少找不到薪酬足够的工作。所有我关注的职位似乎比我现在的待遇低25%至30%,当需要交学费或医保时便岌岌可危。”

It’s a far cry from the days when the UAE was famous as a get-rich-quick destination.

这和过去阿联酋以暴富之地闻名的日子相去甚远。

One digital marketing executive, who declined to give his name due to career sensitivities, says a correction to the “farcical salaries” of the past was natural as the market matured.

一位出于职业敏感度而不愿透露姓名的数字营销高管称,随着市场的成熟,对过去“荒谬的高薪”加以纠正是理所当然的事。

But he believes things have “swung too far the other way”, saying: “What companies want and what they are prepared to pay for are two very different things.”

但他认为情势已经走得太远,他说:“企业希望得到的与其用于雇佣的是两回事,截然不同。”

The 45-year-old has had six jobs since he moved to Dubai 10 years ago. He is still earning more than he was in the UK, but is now on less than when he arrived. He also spent 14 months unemployed before securing his current position.

自从十年前搬到迪拜,这位45岁的高管6次转岗。他的待遇仍然高于英国的水平,但目前的薪酬比他刚到的时候仍然要低。在获得目前工作之前,他也经历了14个月的失业期。

“It was extremely tough and diminished a large proportion of our savings,” he says. His wife was also made redundant after her maternity leave, adding more pressure.

他说,“那时相当艰难,我们花掉了一大笔积蓄。”雪上加霜的是,他的妻子也在休产假后被裁员。

Going home is not always an option for those who have built lives in Dubai – they may not have a home, money to move or school places for their children.

对于在迪拜打拼的那些人,回国不是常见的选择——他们也许无家可回,没有搬家的经济能力,或无法落实子女的教育。

“If you’ve been here a while, you need an exit strategy,” he says. “It drains you emotionally.”

“如果在这里待了一段时间,则需要为离开而准备。”他说,“这太消耗人的情感了。”

Cheaper workers?

廉价人工?

Filipina Hannah Zarah Bhatti came to Dubai three years ago to visit her mother, who has worked in the Emirate for nearly three decades, and found a job doing social media for a retail fashion brand.

扎拉•巴蒂(Filipina Hannah Zarah Bhatti)三年前来迪拜探亲,她的母亲在此工作了近30年,她找了一份工作,为一个时尚零售品牌运营社交媒体。

The 28-year-old graduate is now doing marketing for a leading hotel brand.

如今这位28岁的大学毕业生现在为一家知名的酒店品牌做市场营销。

She earns AED10,000 per month (about $2,720, £2,130), which is more than triple what she would get in the Philippines.

她的月收入为1万阿联酋迪拉姆(约2720美元,2130英镑),比她在菲律宾薪酬高三倍。

Some Western expats see workers like Bhatti as a threat because they are willing to accept lower salaries. Bhatti herself says she believes she earns less than colleagues of other nationalities.

有些西方侨民将巴蒂等职员视为威胁,因为他们愿意接受更低的薪酬。巴蒂称,她觉得自己比其他国籍的同事挣得少。

Gill says she’s encountered Indian nationals with MBAs willing to work as finance assistants for AED7,000 per month ($1,900, £1,480), jobs previously done by Europeans, sometimes without degrees, earning double that.

吉尔称,她曾碰到有工商管理硕士学位的印度人,愿意做月入7000迪拉姆(约合1900美元,1480英镑)的金融助手。这些工作曾经由没有大学学位的欧洲人做,但收入是其两倍。

Bhatti believes that her nationality made her more “in demand” from cost-conscious employers but feels it’s unfair to be paid less based on the colour of her passport.

巴蒂认为她的国籍使其在有成本意识的雇主中更为“热门”,但她认为,根据护照的封皮颜色来决定薪酬是不公平的。

“I am happy to have a job but it’s expensive to live here and I don’t manage to send much home to my family,” she says. “It’s also not an option for me to go back home,” she adds, citing low wages and other economic and social challenges.

她说,“有工作我很开心,但在这里生活很昂贵,无法给家里寄回很多钱。”她提到收入低和其他社会经济上的难题,“回家对我也不是出路。”

Greaves says that even though wages are going down, he believes salaries are still higher than in workers’ usual home markets like the UK, Europe, Australia and the US, and crucially they are tax-free.

格里弗斯说,虽然薪酬在下调,但仍然高于英国、欧洲、澳洲和美国的通常水准,最重要的是,在这里无需纳税。

“It’s still an attractive place to work, even if companies are not paying inflated packages,” he says. “We are still receiving thousands of CVs, so the lure is still there for sure.”

他说,“这仍是极具吸引力的工作之地,即使企业不提供福利大礼包。我们依然收到成千上万份简历,因此吸引力必定依然存在。”

This is not the first time the UAE’s economy has wobbled. In 2009, Dubai was among the highest-profile victims of the global financial crisis. The previously booming market went bust, seemingly overnight, before rebuilding and correcting previous excesses with tighter legislation.

这不是阿联酋第一次出现经济动荡。2009年,迪拜是全球金融危机中受关注的受害者之一。法律收紧后,一夜之间昔日繁荣的市场遭遇寒冬。

In response to this latest economic softening, the government has unveiled a number of stimulus measures worth in excess of US$13 billion. New policies include: opening up certain business sectors to 100% foreign ownership; a more flexible visa regime; and cuts to business registration fees and other administrative costs.

为了应对最近的经济疲软,政府公布了多项刺激措施,总价值超过130亿美元。新的政策包括:在某些领域允许外资全资控股;更灵活的签证政策;削减商业登记费及其他管理费。

These steps should make it a more attractive place to do business and help companies maintain – or even expand – headcount. Nonetheless, the job market is expected to remain incredibility competitive.

这些措施应该会将阿联酋打造成一个具备商业吸引力的地方,并有助于企业维持,甚至扩大员工人数。尽管如此,人们认为就业市场中的竞争仍非常大。

“You need to do your homework before you take a job out here,” says Gill. “It’s an expensive place and we know people who’ve come out planning to save but have found themselves eating into their savings just to cover their expenses.”

吉尔说,“来这里找工作前你要做足功课。迪拜地价不菲,我们知道到有的人打算过来赚钱,但最后却入不敷出。”

Back in the UK, Simmonds is grateful for her time in the UAE, but is quick to warn others not to risk too much for a job there. “I would not advise anyone to go out to look for work without a significant financial cushion because you will get into debt very quickly.”

回到英国的西蒙兹对在阿联酋的经历心存感激,但会警告他人不要冒太大风险去那里找工作。“如果没有相当的经济基础,我不建议你到那里去找工作,因为很快便会负债。”

“The days of Dubai’s roads being paved with gold was over by the time I arrived in 2016, but now I would say that gold is well and truly over the horizon and out of sight.”

“2016年我抵达迪拜时,遍地黄金的日子已一去不返,但现在,真是一点点黄金都看不到了。”

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