Property worker touts for job in hard times

Wed Apr 22, 2009 1:11pm EDT
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By Fouad Juez

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Wearing a sandwich board with the words "JOB WANTED. SENIOR PROJECT MANAGER. CLIVE," Clive Walley pitched for work at a property fair in the United Arab Emirates this week.

One of thousands who have lost their jobs as global financial crisis hit the real estate sector in Dubai, Walley said desperate times demanded dramatic measures.

"I've been looking for work in the last month in Dubai and I suppose there are as many as one thousand applicants for one job, so it's not that easy to get interviews," said Walley, a Briton who has 27 months experience in UAE's property industry.

"I had an excellent job and I was managing some really exciting projects," he told Reuters Television.

Hundreds of billions of dollars worth of construction projects have been delayed or canceled in the UAE, with the former Gulf boomtown of Dubai particularly hard hit as the global crisis ends the region's six-year oil-fueled boom.

Walley lost his job as a client site project manager at Heery International, a division of Balfour Beatty Management, last month.

He is hoping to find work in Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital, which has fared better in the crisis as it is home to most of the Emirates' oil. Two real estate firms have launched multi-billion projects at this week's CityScape Abu Dhabi property fair.

"Here in Abu Dhabi, there is a lot more opportunity at the moment because they are not suffering as much," Walley said.

"A lot of people have given me their business cards and I've spoken to a few people ... there's more interest than I would have imagined."

(Writing by Jason Benham; Editing by Louise Ireland and Lin Noueihed)