Posts with tag: Dubai property market

Dubai Firm’s Collapse Worse Than Expected

Published On: July 31, 2015 at 1:55 pm


Categories: Finance News

Tags: ,,

Yesterday, we reported that an estate agent in Dubai has suddenly gone bust, leaving many British agents without jobs. Find the article here: /british-estate-agents-left-without-jobs-in-dubai/

Britons were recruited to work for the company and some have flown out with their families. The recruitment agencies have been left unpaid, similarly to the agents that only started work recently.

Now it has emerged that the collapse is worse than initially expected.

Dubai Firm's Collapse Worse Than Expected

Dubai Firm’s Collapse Worse Than Expected

According to newspaper Al Arabiya News, most of the staff that lost their jobs at Smith & Ken were British estate agents who had only been recruited recently.

They were attracted to the thought of a sunny lifestyle and tax-free earnings, despite the firm having extreme performance targets and its location in a tower block.

It now appears that the British agents were only headhunted because previous staff members had left the firm due to dissatisfaction over the company’s practices.

Al Arabiya News reported of the shock at the company’s closure, after it was believed that Smith & Ken was Dubai’s leading agent.

The British recruitment firms were also under the impression that the agency was well established, survived the recession and had won several awards.

The Al Arabiya story states: “Despite loud claims on its website to be the industry’s best agency, an online search for the company shows a plethora of complaints of dishonest agents and malpractices, and an overall low-level of service.”

The story claims that Smith & Ken operated in a flamboyant manner, including daily pep talks to the commission-seeking agents.

Around 80 people are believed to have lost their jobs at Smith & Ken.

It is also understood that the business was run remotely from Los Angeles.

One shocked former employee told Al Arabiya News that she received a phone call in the middle of the night from the office manager, telling them not to go to work the next morning, “because the company’s closed down.”

But the employee did go to the office, finding: “We went in the following day to pick up our passports, because the majority of the staff were new, people who had flown over from the UK.”1

After entering the office, the staff saw that the office had been emptied overnight.

However, Al Arabiya states that some of the agents have not been left without a job, as a rival firm in the same office block has snapped them up.




British Estate Agents Left Without Jobs in Dubai

A well-known estate agent in Dubai that has recruited staff from the UK has gone bust.

British agents that were recruited this year, hoping for a better lifestyle and tax-free earnings, have lost their jobs, including some that started work this month.

Some new starters may never have received a pay cheque and are now stranded in the city.

At least one British agent sold a business in the UK to take his family to Dubai in search of a new life.

British Estate Agents Left Without Jobs in Dubai

British Estate Agents Left Without Jobs in Dubai

Other British agents who were due to start soon may have already flown to Dubai, and are now without jobs.

S & K Estate Agents, also known as Smith & Ken, went on a major recruitment mission this year, trying to tempt experienced British agents in a bid to improve its customer service.

One of the UK recruitment firms that found staff has been left unpaid for placing agents.

Rayner Personnel’s Joshua Rayner, says: “I am out of pocket to the tune of two placements.

“As far as I was concerned, Smith & Ken was a well-established agent in Dubai, so this has come out of the blue.

“All I know is that when one of the people I placed went into work one morning, he found the doors shut without any explanation.

“I feel extremely sorry for him and those other people who were sold a dream.”1

One of Rayner’s candidates started work on 1st July and another on 7th July. A third was due to begin next week.

Several other British recruitment companies are also believed to have found candidates.

Allegedly, a total of 80 people have lost their jobs at Smith & Ken offices in Dubai and Los Angeles, and a liquidator has been appointed.

A statement on behalf of one of the shareholders reads: “Unfortunately we have had no other choice but to file bankruptcy and hand over accounts and any remaining income to our liquidator.

“Simply put, the revenue being generated by the business drastically reduced over the first half of 2015, without enough income to cover operational costs.

“Additional support, advertising, incentives and training had been provided to existing and new agents to try and aid their growth and development to increase sales.”

The statement says that Smith & Ken had embarked on the recruitment drive in the UK as “a last resort.”1

Apparently, poor service levels had caused complaints, which deterred repeat business and gave the firm a bad reputation.

The business is said to have been run remotely.

Although the Dubai housing market is competitive, the number and value of property transactions is dropping.