Seven in 10 UAE employees are re-evaluating their career prospects and work practices as job markets worldwide adjust to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new study by global recruiter Robert Half.
The survey found that 31 per cent of employees were rethinking their work-life balance while 22 per cent were searching for new roles and 17 per cent looking to switch jobs but unable to do so because of the virus. The remaining 30 per cent said they were satisfied with their current positions.
“With many businesses reopening their offices and beginning to navigate a path back to normality – or, at least, the next 'new normal' – the need for companies to evolve their flexible working policies and practices; reassess employees’ core skills, competencies and behaviour in response to evolving business priorities; and foster a supportive and inclusive workplace culture in order to retain and attract the best talent has arguably never been more urgent,” Gareth El Mettouri, associate director for Robert Half, said.
Businesses around the world have been forced to cut salaries, place staff on unpaid leave or make them redundant to minimise costs as the fallout from the coronavirus hits revenue.
The International Labour Organisation said in April that about 1.6 billion people in the informal sector – about half the global workforce – are at risk of losing income as a result of Covid-19.
The organisation said the self-employed and people selling goods or offering services affected by movement restrictions were the most vulnerable.
While 53 per cent of UAE respondents said they feared coronavirus-induced job losses in the short term, 66 per cent said their long-term career prospects would not be affected.
Despite initial concerns, 80 per cent said they want to continue working from home after the pandemic ends to save time and money while 57 per cent said remote working helped them avoid the daily commute. About half of the respondents said remote working made them feel more productive.
The findings were similar to those of another survey by US telecoms company Ciena, which found that 79 per cent of people in the UAE expect remote working to continue after the pandemic ends.
Employee needs and attitudes in the UAE have also changed. The majority of the 1,000 respondents polled in the Robert Half survey, held in May and June, want to work from home more frequently while three quarters want improved office cleaning standards.
Seven out of 10 prefer staggered work schedules and 59 per cent want office layouts to be redesigned.