Majority of UAE employees optimistic about career prospects for 2023

Finding a job, learning new skills and getting a higher salary are top career goals for next year, and YouGov survey finds

More than half of employees in the UAE said they are satisfied with their professional growth in the past year. Getty Images
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An overwhelming 86 per cent of working professionals in the UAE have a positive career outlook for 2023, a new survey by jobs portal and market research company YouGov has found.

Sixty-six per cent of respondents in the Emirates said finding a new job was their top career goal for next year, followed by 46 per cent who want to learn new skills and 44 per cent who are aiming for a higher salary, and YouGov said.

“Mena professionals have faced challenges in forging their future as the region emerges from the shadows of the pandemic,” Ola Haddad, director of human resources at, said on Tuesday.


Watch: some of the stats behind the UAE's hiring boom

Some of the stats behind the UAE's hiring boom

Some of the stats behind the UAE's hiring boom

“It is heartening to see that the majority of survey respondents are optimistic about the future and determined to achieve their dreams.”

The survey polled 2,068 people from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon and other countries between August 3 and September 5.

The UAE jobs market has made a strong recovery from the coronavirus-induced slowdown, helped by the government’s fiscal and monetary measures.

Seven in 10 UAE companies plan to hire new employees next year, a separate survey last month by and YouGov found. Sixty-three per cent of large local companies and multinational corporations in the Mena region are among those that have the highest intention of hiring in the next three months, that research found.

Salary and benefits were ranked the most important factors in an ideal job by 69 per cent of UAE professionals, while 42 per cent wanted opportunities for career growth and 33 per cent selected job security. Other factors in an ideal job were work-life balance and a feeling of accomplishment, the survey respondents said.

More than half, or 56 per cent, of employees in the Emirates said they are satisfied with their professional growth over the past year — ranking the UAE the highest in the Mena region, the survey found.

Fifty-two per cent of respondents in the UAE said they prefer being an employee, compared with 22 per cent who would rather own a business, and YouGov found.

The desire to learn and gain experience was the top reason cited for seeking employment in the Emirates by 69 per cent of respondents. This was followed by 58 per cent who opted for making money and 48 per cent who picked “feeling useful to society” as the main factors for choosing to be employed.

Education and academia, IT, internet and e-commerce, and business consultancy are the three most preferred industries for UAE professionals, the survey found.

“It is critical that Mena employers are knowledgeable of employee aspirations to further enhance the hiring and job seeking processes,” Zafar Shah, research director at YouGov, said.

Meanwhile, 72 per cent of working professionals in the UAE believe they deserve to work in a higher-level position, while 45 per cent are willing to move to another department or area of expertise to develop their skills and further their careers.

Thirty-seven per cent of respondents are also willing to move into a different industry to broaden their professional expertise, the survey found.

UAE Salary Guide 2022 — in pictures

The UAE ranks high for motivation levels in the workplace, with 67 per cent of those polled reported feeling motivated at work.

Fifty-seven per cent of respondents said higher salaries and perks or benefits would increase their motivation at work, followed by 45 per cent who picked a better work-life balance and 37 per cent who selected promotion.

The top personal goal for 2023 is to save more money, according to 68 per cent of working professionals in the Emirates. Forty per cent chose buying property as a top goal, while 35 per cent opted for spending more time with family.

Updated: October 12, 2022, 5:00 AM