UAE may yet see 'Great Resignation' in workplaces, recruiters say

Not enough to simply increase salaries anymore, say HR and recruitment specialists

Companies are being forced to get creative to retain staff who are considering making a move, thanks to the “Great Resignation".

The term, coined by Anthony Klotz, a psychologist and professor at Texas A&M University, refers to the global trend of employees rethinking their career options since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, with many re-evaluating their careers due to the flexibility their new situations offered.

A survey by recruitment firm Robert Walters found that two thirds of professionals are looking to move jobs in the first half of the year.

It also said a significant number held on to their jobs in anticipation of a bonus and pay rise in 2022.

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Staff have had a taste of better work-life balances and are reconsidering what they will accept in their careers
Vijay Gandhi, Korn Ferry

“Any companies who 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,” said Jason Grundy, managing director of Robert Walters Middle East and Africa — the group behind the study.

“They consequently will find themselves in a bidding war for their own employees as the market continues to heat up.

“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.”

Employment experts told The National that firms were having to think outside of the box to keep hold of staff tempted to change employers or take an extended break from the workplace.

A Dubai-based recruitment expert said companies were scrambling to retain staff as the market begins to recover from the pandemic, with firms actively recruiting again.

“We’ve seen a rise in the number of people getting pay rises in recent months,” said David Mackenzie, group managing director of recruitment agency Mackenzie Jones.

“Companies are realising they’ve got to keep their talent.”

He warned it was not enough to give pay rises to employees considering moving elsewhere.

“It might keep them in the short term but they are likely to leave after six months,” he said.

“Money is not the reason staff ultimately stay at a company.

“It’s the atmosphere, environment and culture of the workplace that matters most when trying to keep people happy.”

There are a lot of jobs out there right now and there are not enough candidates, said David Mackenzie, group managing director of Mackenzie Jones. Ravindranath K / The National

Companies in the UAE have had to look at alternatives to ramping up salary packages, he said.

“They are thinking about how to keep good talent and incentivise them,” said Mr Mackenzie.

“Offering pay reviews and learning support are some of the ways they have been trying to retain staff.

“In some cases, they have even offered free parking spaces to try to persuade employees not to move on.”

Firms have also offered staff loyalty bonuses, with higher payments for each year they stay, he added.

“There are a lot of jobs out there right now and there are not enough candidates,” said Mr Mackenzie.

The issue is a global one, with reports from all over the world on how firms are struggling to both retain and attract staff during the Great Resignation.

The number of workers quitting their jobs in the US exceeded pre-pandemic levels for eight consecutive months, consumer data company Statista found.

A German insurance technology firm, Deutsche Familienversicherung, was offering €500 to anyone it interviewed, with the number doubling for those who were asked back for a second interview.

And anyone who completes six-month probation with the firm will receive a payment of €5,000.

UAE Salary Guide