Most UAE professionals would quit jobs for better career development: survey

According to a joint and YouGov survey, 83 per cent said they would leave their company if better training opportunities were offered elsewhere.

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ABU DHABI // Professionals in the UAE are willing to sever ties with their current employers if they are dissatisfied with the career development options available, a poll has found.

According to a joint and YouGov survey, 83 per cent said they would leave their company if better training opportunities were offered elsewhere.

Indeed, 40 per cent said they were even prepared to move to another country to develop their career, while 57 per cent said they were willing to change employment sectors.

Hiba, who works in public relations, agreed with the results. “I wouldn’t want to burn bridges with my employers or the company,” she said, “but, if after a couple of years I’m in the same place I would be open to other opportunities that would help in progressing my career.”

Money, said Hiba, was not the main key to happiness. “I think companies should take this fracture into consideration because it’s not just about the money, but also about career development.

“That said, I think companies should give their employees appraisals and raises to keep them motivated.”

The poll was conducted online last October, using the input from 3,359 respondents in 13 countries in the Mena region.

Those behind the survey said the results indicated employees were not satisfied with the efforts of their HR departments in providing career development opportunities, such as promotions, adequate appraisal performance systems, role enhancements, mentoring programs and training.

“Today, employees in the UAE are understandably eager to craft solid career trajectories and advance their professional development,” said Suhail Masri of “Unfortunately, however, as evidenced by the survey results, many of them feel that their company is failing when it comes to equipping them with the well-rounded tools, blended learning approach, and tailored training needed to ensure their career growth and progression.

“And this leaves employees feeling stifled in their jobs, which in turn affects their loyalty, morale, and performance.”

Eighty five per cent of respondents in the UAE said career development was “very important” to them.

For Rami, who works in social media, the results were not a surprise. Many of his friends in the UAE, he said, were always on the lookout for better opportunities.

“Some of them are relatively satisfied with their jobs, but at some point, especially if there are no raises, they not only lack motivation but also do not feel challenged,” he said.

“I would not mind moving to another company if it gave me a chance to rise in the ranks, even if initially it was for the same salary I was getting now.”

Although 57 per cent of UAE job holders said they wanted to attain higher-level positions, just over a third said they had never had a promotion within their current company.

Forty five per cent said they were satisfied with their current career development, and 50 per cent said they were satisfied with the quality of orientation and training they had received.

Also, 64 per cent of those surveyed in the UAE believed their organisation had the capabilities to teach them new skills.

Sixty three per cent said their current role was a good match to their abilities, while just more than a third claimed they were overqualified for their job.

In contrast, in Mena, 43 per cent of employees said they were overqualified, while 55 per cent stated that their role was a good match to their abilities.

A third of UAE respondents said they strongly felt there was equal opportunity for advancement at their company, and 32 per cent believed job promotions were awarded “fairly and without bias”.

“Only about three in 10 current employees strongly believe that there is equal opportunity for advancement at the company,” said Elissavet Vraka, from YouGov. “Companies in the Middle East can stand to benefit from creating transparent systems where employees feel confident about their career development.”

Only 41 per cent of UAE professionals admitted to having a good idea of knowing what their company needed and required from employees.