Author(s): Anca Bocanet, Onise Alpenidze, Omar Badran
The Covid-19 pandemic has undoubtedly affected normalcy around the world, and has shifted traditional means of operation for businesses. With the introduction of worldwide lockdowns, consumer spending, workforce management and supply chains have been some of the areas most affected. These unexpected challenges force businesses to re-evaluate their strategies moving forward to mitigate the adverse impacts of the pandemic and adapt to the slowly evolving market conditions worldwide. The paper studies the effects of the pandemic on the UAE business environment and society through analyzing the employment growth rates of different sectors in the UAE for the first quarter of 2020 and compared it with their rates pre-pandemic (2010-2019). It was found that all sectors in the UAE suffered from negative growth, concluding that the pandemic has had a clear adverse economic effect on industries in the UAE. However, the uncertainty the pandemic has created has lead businesses to strategize for survival and, in doing so, focus more on organizational resilience and risk management. To steer clear from vulnerability and risk of business failure, an “entrepreneurial hustle” is needed to provide businesses with a competitive advantage in the post-pandemic era. This paper concludes with a hopeful observation that while many sectors in the UAE suffered economically, the UAE government's hands on initiatives to save businesses across the country has left many sectors on a stronger footing to withstand the after-effects post-pandemic era may throw their way. As result, this paper recommends economic diversification in the UAE to help transition its economy to a more sustainable path.