More than 60% of UAE employees plan to look for new job in next six months, survey finds

Forty-six per cent say their confidence in the UAE’s recovery is behind their reasons for seeking new roles, according to Robert Half

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READ: UAE salary guide 2022: how much should you be earning?

About 65 per cent of employees in the UAE plan to look for a new job in the first six months of 2022 as businesses accelerate their hiring plans and the jobs market returns to pre-coronavirus levels, according to recruitment consultancy Robert Half.

In addition to the 31 per cent workers who were seeking new roles at the end of 2021, 15 per cent will start their search for a new job in the first quarter.

A further 19 per cent will look for a new role in the second quarter of this year, which for many will follow an annual bonus payment, according to the survey, which polled 500 employees in the UAE between December 15 to December 20.

“Offering your current and prospective employees competitive pay and benefits is important for both retention and attraction but offering flexibility through remote or hybrid working is becoming more and more important – especially when you are employing expats,” said Gareth El Mettouri, associate director at Robert Half Middle East.

Offering flexibility through remote or hybrid working is becoming more and more important – especially when you are employing expats
Gareth El Mettouri, associate director at Robert Half Middle East

“Appetite to move to the UAE, especially from the UK, is on the rise, but in a competitive market offering flexible working arrangement is one way to improve your business attractiveness. Multinational companies tend to be more flexible but locally-owned companies really need to step up their game if they want to attract and retain staff.”

About 73 per cent of UAE employers expect salaries in their organisations to increase by up to 5 per cent this year, compared with 37 per cent in 2021, according to the Hays 2022 Salary Guide, which will be released at the end of January.

A flexible working policy was the most common model in the UAE, with many opting for two to three days at home and in the office alternately, according to a recent study by recruitment consultancy Hays.

About 19 per cent of private sector employers in the UAE said that Friday will become a day where staff are guaranteed the option of working from home, according to a survey last week by global advisory Willis Towers Watson, as the country shifts to a Saturday-Sunday weekend in line with global markets.

Thirty per cent of companies in the UAE said they are considering giving staff the work-from-home option on Friday, the survey revealed.

Forty-six per cent of UAE professionals looking for a new role this year cited increased confidence in the UAE economy as driving their ambition, according to Robert Half research.

Business activity in the UAE's non-oil private sector continued to improve in December as a sharp rise in new business and output, and a boost from Expo 2020 Dubai combined to round off a strong year.

The seasonally adjusted purchasing managers' index – a gauge designed to give a snapshot of operating conditions in the non-oil private sector economy – stood at 55.6 in December, down slightly from November's 29-month high of 55.9.

About 25 per cent of respondents said they had remained in their current role to maintain financial security due to the continued uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the survey revealed.

Eighteen per cent of job-seekers in the UAE said there was nothing their organisation could do to entice them to stay, Robert Half said.

About 36 per cent of those who will look for a new role this year feel that their current employer does not listen to their wants and needs, the research found. Also, 34 per cent of those thinking of moving on said they do not have a say in their working arrangements.

While 57 per cent of job-seekers are looking for a higher salary and 54 per cent want better benefits, 59 per cent said they would take a pay cut in exchange for more flexible working arrangements, according to Robert Half.

Flexible working models are not only sought-after by new employees but also by existing staff, the survey found, with 86 per cent of those polled saying that companies need to offer more flexibility to retain talent, the research said.

About 78 per cent of workers surveyed said that businesses would have a hard time finding replacement staff without flexible working on the table, the survey findings showed.

Updated: January 18, 2022, 10:12 AM