UAE and Saudi employees prefer working in GCC, LinkedIn says

Standard of living, attractive lifestyle and career growth opportunities make the region a preferred destination compared with the US and Europe, survey finds

The UAE has emerged as one of the most resilient international markets when it comes to hiring, LinkedIn says. Getty Images
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A majority (82 per cent) of professionals in the UAE and Saudi Arabia say they prefer working in the GCC region rather than moving to Europe or the US, according to a survey by LinkedIn.

About 46 per cent of respondents said the region’s standard of living made it a preferred destination, followed by the attractive lifestyle at 35 per cent and opportunities for professional growth on 31 per cent, the survey found.

“This comes as no surprise, as the UAE emerged as one of the most resilient international markets when it comes to hiring, with a 0.3 per cent annual increase in hiring, up by 30 per cent compared to pre-pandemic December 2019,” LinkedIn said on Wednesday.

The survey polled 16,288 white-collar professionals in full-time or part-time employment across Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the UK, India, Singapore and the US, among other countries, between November 24 and December 15.

The jobs market in the UAE, the Arab world’s second-largest economy, has recovered from the coronavirus pandemic, thanks largely to fiscal and social measures introduced by the government to attract skilled workers and incentivise companies to set up or expand their operations.

The Emirates is making a shift to an employers’ market, with more people moving to the UAE because of the lifestyle and economic problems in other countries, recruitment consultancy Robert Half said in its 2024 Salary Guide report.

With an influx of talent and more competition for roles, candidates are willing to accept lower remuneration to give themselves a foothold in the Middle East, which brings down the overall market rate and restricts salary growth, Robert Half said.

“This will give rise to a more competitive job market, so standing out from other candidates will be more important than ever,” Ali Matar, Europe, Middle East and Africa growth markets leader and head of LinkedIn Middle East and North Africa, said.

About 62 per cent of professionals in the UAE and Saudi Arabia are either looking for another job or plan to start looking for one soon, the survey found.

Higher salaries and the need for an improved work-life balance are the top two reasons for professionals seeking a career move, with 20 per cent of respondents saying that a better-paying job is a leading career goal for 2024.

“In 2024, we are seeing UAE and Saudi Arabia professionals taking agency and moving to the driver's seat when it comes to their careers,” said Mr Matar.

Nearly three quarters of job seekers also said that flexible work arrangements, such as hybrid working, are essential.

There is also a growing understanding of the importance of skills in the UAE labour market, with 83 per cent of professionals highlighting their skills instead of degrees when looking for a job, the survey found.

Seventy-six per cent said they would take on more projects at work to diversify their skills, while 72 per cent said they are spending more time than usual doing online courses to improve their career progression.

About 84 per cent of UAE professionals are keen to improve their skills, the research showed.

“We see an appetite among professionals in our region to upskill and invest in building their personal profiles,” Mr Matar said.

“Highlighting how one’s skills are relevant to the job they want and staying on top of industry trends will also improve chances of finding the right opportunity.”

Some of the fastest-growing job roles in the UAE over the past five years include real estate consultant, partnerships specialist, mortgage adviser, private client adviser, growth manager and building information modelling (BIM) architect, among others, according to LinkedIn.

Meanwhile, 79 per cent of Saudi professionals expressed confidence about interviewing for a new role and 78 per cent feel positive about searching for another job, the survey revealed.

This confidence comes from 77 per cent believing that their job prospects in 2024 are better than last year.

Six in 10 women in the kingdom are pursuing career moves in 2024 compared with 57 per cent of men, where a desire for better pay and better work-life balance is the motive, according to LinkedIn.

Over the past five years, roles such as patient care technician, information system analyst, BIM co-ordinator, health and safety manager and human resources operations specialist have emerged as the fastest-growing jobs in the kingdom, according to the LinkedIn data.

15 fastest-growing jobs in the UAE

  1. Real estate consultant
  2. Partnerships specialist
  3. Mortgage adviser
  4. Private client adviser
  5. Growth manager
  6. BIM architect
  7. Sales development representative
  8. Banking officer
  9. Back-end developer
  10. Front-end developer
  11. Tax associate
  12. Financial auditor
  13. 3D artist
  14. Chief marketing officer
  15. Product designer

15 fastest-growing jobs in Saudi Arabia

  1. Patient care technician
  2. Information system analyst
  3. BIM co-ordinator
  4. Health and safety manager
  5. Human resources operations specialist
  6. Environmental specialist
  7. Partnerships specialist
  8. Project management specialist
  9. Legal specialist
  10. Content creator
  11. Interface specialist
  12. Talent acquisition specialist
  13. Commercial manager
  14. Compliance specialist
  15. Procurement contract specialist

Source: LinkedIn

Updated: January 17, 2024, 7:52 AM