About two-thirds of professionals in the UAE will actively look for new jobs in the first half of this year as business confidence and hiring activity return to pre-pandemic levels, according to a survey by recruitment company Robert Walters.
Fifty-nine per cent of workers in the Emirates feel “very confident” about job opportunities in their sector, according to the survey, which polled 3,000 white-collar employees from December 2021 to January this year.
A large majority of white-collar workforce in the UAE has held on to jobs in anticipation of a New Year bonus and pay rise and will continue to be “market curious” throughout 2022, Robert Walters said.
“Many companies decided on their 2022 raises a few months ago before we had a clear picture of how competitive and candidate-short the market was going to be,” Jason Grundy, managing director of Robert Walters Middle East and Africa, said.
“Companies which did not adequately reward their staff at the beginning of this year have potentially put themselves at risk of losing some of their best assets — and consequently, will find themselves in a bidding war for their own employees as the market continues to heat up.”
The jobs market in the UAE, the second-largest Arab economy, has recovered strongly from the pandemic-induced slowdown on the back of the government’s fiscal and monetary measures.
Salary increases and bonuses continue to be the main incentives for retaining employees within a business, according to Robert Walters.
About 72 per cent of professionals in the UAE expect a pay rise in the first half of this year, the survey found, with 64 per cent of those polled saying they plan to leave their jobs if they are not offered an increment in 2022.
Movement in the UAE job market is set to peak at the end of February after January appraisals, the company said.
Salaries for new hires have increased at a faster pace than existing workers’ pay in the past 18 months, the survey revealed.
New employees' pay increased by 6 per cent to 8 per cent and, sometimes, by up to 20 per cent in industries such as technology or health care, Robert Walters said.
“If pay increases are not on the agenda, then it is crucial that managers check in with their team to get an idea of career plans and how they as an employer can assist,” Mr Grundy said.
About 28 per cent of UAE employers planned to make changes to existing remuneration packages, a separate Robert Walters poll of 500 UAE companies found.
“The real sweet spot for companies is professionals with more than five years [of] experience, wherein [those in] sectors such as legal and finance are achieving 20 per cent to 30 per cent pay increases when moving roles,” Mr Grundy said.
“In technology, the pay rises are even higher, sometimes up to 50 per cent for those with software development or cyber security experience.”