Despite efforts to encourage Emiratis to join the private sector, they remain overwhelmingly drawn to government jobs.
A new survey shows 55 per cent of those polled said they wanted to work for the Government in areas such as civil service and utilities. The poll was released yesterday by the regional jobs website Bayt and the market research company YouGov.
Thirty-five per cent of the Emirati respondents said they would also like to work in the defence or security sectors, and 29 per cent named hydrocarbons.
The results contrasted with respondents from across the Middle East. YouGov polled 7,370 people in the Emirates, Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Tunisia, as well as Pakistan.
Among both national and expatriate respondents in the UAE, more people want to work in oil, gas and petrochemicals than in any other sector. The preference for energy put the Emirates at odds with the rest of the Middle East, where people were more likely to be looking for technology or internet-related jobs.
“Within the UAE, it is very clear which industry is the most preferable,” said Sundip Chahal, the chief executive of YouGov. “Interestingly, the majority of regional respondents are keen to find employment in the IT, electronics and telecommunications industry rather than in oil, gas and petrochemicals.”
In the UAE, 22 per cent of respondents were keen to get jobs in the energy sector, with government and banking each attracting about half the number of votes. UAE respondents also rated oil, gas and petrochemicals the strongest growing and best-paid industry, but believed government offered the best work-life balance.
Women had different priorities. More than a third were drawn to finance, another third to education, and a slightly smaller number to medicine and pharmaceuticals.
UAE workers were apt to be happy with their jobs but also ready to shift to new sectors for better pay. Forty-seven per cent said they were satisfied with their work-life balance, 56 per cent approved of their working hours, and 50 per cent enjoyed their company’s work culture.
But a desire for better salaries, benefits and career growth had pushed a fifth of UAE workers to move to a new industry in the past two years. More than half were also considering changing sectors in the coming years.