Six in 10 UAE workers want to change industries in coming months

A majority of those wishing to switch the industry they currently work in prefer to be employed by the government, finds survey

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Nearly six in 10 professionals in the UAE are considering switching their work industry in the next few months, according to the findings of a new survey.

They cited better salary and career growth (46 per cent) as the main reasons for considering an industry change. Government or civil service (14 per cent) ranked as the most appealing sector among those thinking of an industry switch,’s Top Industries in the Middle East and North Africa 2020 survey found. Conducted in partnership with market research company YouGov, the survey polled 1,898 respondents in several Mena countries, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia, from September 21 to October 8.

The coronavirus pandemic has tipped the global economy into a steep recession, prompting workers around the world to reskill to adjust to a rapidly changing economy.

The survey found that 19 per cent of UAE respondents have changed their industry at least once in the past two years.

“Our latest survey confirms a significant increase in interest in certain industries – largely fuelled by salary and benefits, work-life balance, career growth and job security,” Ola Haddad, director of human resources at job site, said.

“Employers need to deliver on jobseekers’ continuously evolving expectations to attract the best candidates. This starts with understanding jobseeker preferences.”

The UAE’s hiring rate briefly hit pre-pandemic levels in October, rising 9.5 per cent annually within the global average of 9 to 10 per cent, according to LinkedIn. It identified 10 jobs that are expected to continue to be in high demand by employers in the future, including digital marketers, data analysts, software developers and financial analysts.

Jobseekers in the UAE are most keen to work in sectors such as hospitality/recreation/entertainment, education and engineering/design, the survey found.

However, when it comes to maintaining a work-life balance, respondents ranked government/civil service (30 per cent), banking/finance/accounting (22 per cent) and oil, gas and petrochemicals (17 per cent) as the most attractive industries to work in the UAE.

Information technology and e-commerce (25 per cent) and healthcare/medical services (25 per cent) are viewed as the industries expected to record the strongest growth next year.

Information technology and e-commerce and healthcare/medical services are viewed as the industries expected to record the strongest growth next year.

According to the survey findings, almost two in five respondents believe that oil, gas and petrochemicals is the industry that offers the best salary package, including non-monetary benefits, in their country of residence, while 21 per cent believe that banking/finance offers the second-best salaries.

In terms of career growth, a majority of respondents (26 per cent) consider oil, gas and petrochemicals to be the best industry, followed by banking/finance/accounting (22 per cent).

For job security, 29 per cent of respondents ranked military/defence/police on top, followed by government/civil service (27 per cent) and oil, gas and petrochemicals (21 per cent).

More than half of all respondents (55 per cent) to the survey said the government is a favourable employer, and 36 per cent said it is an extremely favourable employer.

Meanwhile, the sectors of banking/finance/accounting (21 per cent) and hospitality/recreation/ entertainment (18 per cent) are perceived to hire most new graduates.

However, when it comes to attracting local talent, the top three sectors are government/civil service (28 per cent), military/defence/police (27 per cent) and oil, gas and petrochemicals (20 per cent), the survey found.

Female jobseekers in the UAE said the industries of hospitality/recreation/entertainment (28 per cent), healthcare/medical services (24 per cent) and human resources (24 per cent) are the most attractive.