Who will benefit most from UAE’s new work week?

James Evans

UAE 1 March 2022: Over the years, the UAE has increasingly enjoyed the benefits of balancing traditional Arabic culture with carefully allowing more Westernized elements to enter the society. The success of this strategy is to be seen everywhere from the shopping malls lined with designer brands to the huge expatriate communities throughout the region.

So the announcement late in 2021 that the country would introduce a Monday to Friday working week from January 2022 onwards came as no big surprise. After all, while the traditional Sunday to Thursday week had been standard since 2006, before which weekends had been Thursday and Friday, this is a logical step towards aligning even more with the West.

Now the new arrangement is in place, it could be time to start examining who will benefit from this the most in the UAE.

Obviously, there is the fact that this is really only a four and a half day week as all schools and businesses can close at midday on Friday to allow for the traditional Muslim prayers to take place in the afternoon. In now enjoying what is now the world’s shortest official working week, it would be true to say that everyone from schoolchildren to the working population is seeing an immediate benefit.

Affected Sectors

Moving on to actual working sectors, one of the main reasons cited for making the change was to bring the UAE in line with other financial markets across the world which all operate on a Monday to Friday basis. This has been predicted to create a boost in trading volumes in both the Dubai Financial Market and Abu Dhabi Securities Exchanges. For Dubai, this will act as an important driver in its ambition to increase the financial market’s size to Dh3 trillion ($816.8 billion) a year.

Other beneficiaries may be investors and speculators who take part in CFD trading with greater market activity leading to even more opportunities. As a way to trade in the rise or fall of share prices of many of the world’s biggest companies and brands, this closer alignment with global markets is sure to be advantageous in a number of ways.

A Way To Attract Talent

For businesses themselves, the fact that the working week is being more westernized, is expected to attract even more to start operating in the UAE and to use the area’s many lifestyle and tax advantages to recruit the cream of available talent.

This will surely be further boosted by the Golden Visa scheme which was introduced last year to attract investors, entrepreneurs, and the especially talented. One sector that is likely to benefit in particular is computer coding. Some 100,000 visas are being made available as part of the drive to build a strong digital sector in the UAE. This is seen as vital if the region is to continue to thrive on the world stage.

So the relatively small step of changing the working week is sure to have many major, and welcome, ramifications for the UAE and its inhabitants. Whether it will also encourage other countries in the region like Saudi Arabia to follow suit remains to be seen.

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