Fancy working in the Middle East? On 11 May, Flight International will publish our third annual Middle East Careers Guide, with everything you need to know about who is recruiting, what sort of jobs are available and what it's like living and working in the region. I'm going out to research the supplement in a few weeks' time and, although I travel to the region several times a year, it will be interesting to assess the mood of recruiters.
Two years ago, when we first published the guide, airlines, MROs and business aviation operators simply could not find suitable candidates fast enough and were ramping up the inducements on offer and overtly poaching from eachother to recruit the best people. The only downside was the spiralling cost of living and shortage of accommodation that faced expats moving into the region and its then boomtown Dubai.
Since then, of course, we've had the worldwide recession and Dubai's own very painful and humiliating economic crash. However, even when I talked to recruiters in the first quarter of last year, the mood from most was still upbeat. Outside Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar were busy reinvesting their wealth from natural resources into creating aviation and aerospace infrastructures.
Even in chastened Dubai, Emirates and Dubai's international airport appeared only to slow in terms of growth, rather than go into reverse, such was their previous momentum. The emirate has such a can-do and upbeat spirit too that entrepreneurs and company bosses were insistent that Dubai's rulers had it all under control and that an upturn was just around the corner, even as abandoned, unpaid-for Porsches piled up at the airport car park, the cranes fell idle and for rent signs proliferated like weeds on a wet day.
I was last in Dubai in November and, while the roads are quieter (as opposed to the gridlock of two years ago) and hotels slightly more affordable, the place still has a buzz about it that will be difficult to suppress.
Call it denial, call it relentless optimism, but I bet when I go out there in April a bit of that boomtown ambition will be back.