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Majority of UAE employers face talent shortage, says new survey

New findings reveal that firms must reevaluate their perks to provide employees with what they want

Majority of UAE employers face talent shortage, says new survey
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

Employers in the UAE are struggling to recruit and retain skilled workers. Employers looking for skilled candidates, such as sales, marketing, and data science, are feeling the effect of the competitive talent landscape, although they are eager to offer more benefits.
According to Zurich’s survey, more than three-quarters of UAE employees (76%) have changed jobs in the last year or plan to do so in the coming 12 months, with workers between the ages of 25 and 34 most likely to do so.

The survey also finds that employees are expecting advantages that go beyond compensation. Seeking a better wage package (55%), better employee perks (44%), and professional development and skills advancement (43%) are the primary reasons for switching employers.

The findings reveal that firms must reevaluate their perks to provide employees with what they want. Around 52% of employers said they believe there is a talent shortage, with sales and marketing and data science seeing the worst lack.

Furthermore, 89% of workers claim they would change employment at the same wage if better benefits were offered. The study shows that among the employee benefits that employees esteem most highly are education grants, unemployment insurance, and workplace savings.

Employers are eager to offer more benefits, according to the poll, with 86% stating they would do so if they were easily accessible at a reasonable cost. When asked why they weren’t increasing employee perks, 34% of respondents mentioned cost and the added workload associated with managing new benefits as the main reasons.

When asked about the significance of workforce sustainability in luring future talent, half of the employees cited upskilling as essential, honoring and rewarding success, and paying attention to workers. 

Moreover, half (53%) of workers cite discontent with growth possibilities as a motivation to shift professions, slightly behind dissatisfaction with compensation (55%), despite the fact that most businesses believe they offer enough opportunity for upskilling (82%), according to a third of employees (36%). 

Employees believe that businesses must exhibit social leadership. For instance, 36% of the employees polled felt that their company wasn’t doing enough to combat climate change. Waste reduction initiatives and flexible work schedules are examples of socially responsible initiatives that employees support.

“As companies seek to attract and, importantly, retain talent in the UAE, they must accept that this is a mature job market where talent holds many of the cards. Providing better benefits is a clear-cut way for companies to position themselves as employers of choice. Yet, our survey reveals a mismatch in an employer’s definition of a benefit and what employees understand to be a tangible benefit,” said Sajeev Nair, senior executive officer at Zurich Workplace Solutions.


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