The Expo 2020 Dubai countdown: Do not have a short-term approach to hiring  

By Peter Cleverton, General Manager, EMEA at HireRight

The Expo 2020 Dubai countdown: Do not have a short-term approach to hiring  

With Expo 2020 Dubai just over a year away, thoughts are turning to 20 October 2020, and the 400+ day countdown to the event. The exhibition is expected to have a significant impact on the UAE’s economy, contributing Dh122.6 billion in value by 2031, stimulating investments and creating thousands of jobs.

As many as 49,700 jobs per annum, on average, are expected to be supported by Expo 2020, peaking at around 94,400 during the event itself. The majority of the roles will be in construction, real estate, hospitality, aviation, retail and services.

Over 190 countries have already confirmed their participation in the event, offering huge opportunities for UAE-based companies, multinationals and organisations with regional offices, to take advantage of the influx of potential new business.

While around 80% of visitors to most Expo events are domestic, for Expo 2020 the target is to have 70% international visitors, giving the UAE an opportunity to showcase the Emirates’ tourism offering, aimed at benefiting the wider business community.

It’s not just the relative short-term period where there are opportunities for companies to thrive. Post-Expo legacy plans for Dubai’s mega event are already in place. The event site is set to be repurposed and developed into District 2020 with integrated communities housing businesses, residential units, schools and universities.

Hiring additional staff to manage the additional workflow will be a priority for organisations in the lead up to the event, whether they choose to hire at a local level or bring in talent from overseas. Having the flexibility of temporary and freelance employees to cover the months before, during and after the Expo is very attractive; however, there are a number of potential issues to consider.

The data from our 2019 EMEA Emploument Screening Benchmark Report revealed that not all organisations have processes in place to ensure short-term employees are treated with the same level of rigor as permanent hires during the recruitment process.

Our research found just over half (58%) screen independent contractors and only 68% screen temporary or contingent workers. Even in short-term roles, there are clear risks if people have access to sensitive or financial information and have not been properly screened.

Expo 2020 will also be an opportunity for students and young people to get involved in Dubai’s mega event, however with just 37% of organisations saying that they screen interns pre-hire, this could produce a level of unnecessary risk. It will therefore be important to use an appropriate level of scrutiny when checking background information of temporary staff as permanent members.

In terms of what information HR departments are checking on candidate CVs, our Report found that employment and reference checks are still the top area that companies screen, with 82% of HR professionals saying they verify their candidates’ work histories. Education also remains a consistently screened area with 74% of respondents verifying their candidates’ qualifications as part of their screening programme.

For a company to have a short-term approach towards staff screening around Expo 2020 would be an oversight. Closing any gaps in the screening process will help ensure that businesses can effectively manage the employment risks that the mass recruitment ahead of Expo 2020 Dubai will bring.

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