Majority of Mena workers expect to change jobs this year

Salary and long-term job security are among the top drivers for jobseekers in 2021, new survey finds

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A majority of the Mena region’s working population expect to change jobs in the next six months, citing lack of opportunities for advancement and compensation below the market rate as reasons for the move, according to a new survey by jobs site and YouGov.

Salary, long-term job security and a work environment that offers training and career progression are the top three drivers for professionals seeking new jobs in the region, the Attraction and Retention of Talent in Mena survey found.

The survey, which identifies aspects that attract and retain workplace talent, polled more than 1,600 people from countries including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Libya and Sudan.

“The … survey offers helpful indicators of what employees are looking for and not finding,” Zafar Shah, research director at YouGov, said on Sunday.

“Professionals in this region have diverse needs and priorities when it comes to their ideal job and work environment. Companies should continue engaging their talent and seeking their feedback to improve their ability to attract top talent and to drive up their loyalty.”

In the UAE, 40 per cent of professionals said they were extremely likely to change companies in the first half of 2021, the study added.

The research resonates with a recent survey by global recruitment company Hays, which found that more than half of all employees in the UAE expect to look for a new job this year following a challenging 2020, during which the Covid-19 pandemic forced many companies to let staff go and freeze staffing budgets to reduce costs and remain operational.


More than 70 per cent of respondents in the Mena region said they would find an employer attractive if they follow good ethics and practices, 59 per cent said a friendly company culture is important and 55 per cent are swayed by strong corporate social responsibility in a company.

Meanwhile, the most important on-the-job attributes for 69 per cent of UAE professionals include career development opportunities and 65 per cent want training and support, the survey said.

When it comes to loyalty towards a company, 43 per cent of employees in the UAE look for training and development opportunities, followed by 40 per cent who are driven by job security and 34 per cent who seek opportunities for long-term career development.


“These factors are integral to attracting and retaining talent in the UAE,” Ola Haddad, director of human resources at, said.

“Multiple factors drive employees’ commitment to their work, including coaching and evaluation, work environment, opportunities for growth and development, and, of course, their relationships with their companies.”