Earlier in February and March of 2016, a survey conducted by Citi bank in concurrence with YouGov revealed that around 66 per cent of businesses in Dubai expect headcount to grow within the coming years.

The survey was conducted with a sample size of around 290 mid-market companies with turnovers from £50 million to £1 billion in Dubai, Istanbul, London and Moscow. Within all four cities, according to the survey approximately 82 percent of the companies polled expressed confidence about their economic outlook over the next two years.

Head of Citi Commercial Bank, Middle East, Vincent Valladares stated that “Confidence is increasing for the majority of companies we polled. In fact they are increasingly looking beyond their national borders for growth…close to 66 percent of respondents in Dubai also expected their businesses to grow headcount in the coming year.”

“We’re pleased to say that 74 per cent of companies surveyed in Dubai plan to open new international offices and similarly 74 percent will target new export markets as a means of growing their businesses in the next two years. We feel this reflects well on Dubai as a place to do business.” Said Valladares.

The survey also revealed that when choosing the most suitable markets for growth, the main priorities for businesses based in Dubai were presence of a skilled workforce, political stability, and ease of doing business.

The respondents were most hopeful about the economic prospects of the Asia Pacific and Middle East regions. The top five most favourable viewed markets for business expansions of all kinds; ranked in order India, Canada, US, Saudi and Qatar, reflecting the importance of the size of the new market, as well as its proximity and cultural links.

In regards to expansion that has been undertaken, in the last three years 4 in 5 of the samples has targeted new export markets while three quarters had opened new offices; with the Middle East being the most popular for targeting new markets.