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What do UAE employees want? Better compensation and work-life balance

Younger workers place a high emphasis on flexible work environments and work schedules.

What do UAE employees want? Better compensation and work-life balance
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

Much has been said in recent times about the Great Resignation, now conversations around the world concur that something has to be done to satisfy people’s needs for work-life satisfaction.

According to a recent Boston Consulting Group (BCG) report, about 82% of UAE employees receive several inquiries about job openings each year, compared to 75% globally, and 57% of them receive inquiries each month. 

The study titled What Job Seekers Wish Employers Knew is based on a survey investigating the recruiting preferences of job seekers and offers a thorough examination of significant worldwide markets, including the UAE.

Further, 73% of job searchers believe they are in a strong negotiating position when looking for work, a percentage that is 5% higher than the global average, when only 14% of workers believe that employers have the negotiating cards when making job offers, compared to 12% in the UAE.

Teachers and IT workers, among those surveyed, had the highest levels of confidence, while those who work in administration, business management, and healthcare have the lowest levels.

According to the study, the most sought-after job seekers are in the health and social care, digital, and public service, with those in administration, corporate management, and financial services coming in a distant second. The global slump in the IT industry is probably why engineers and IT specialists get the fewest job offers.

“It’s not easy to win over top talent. A strong offer is not enough. 41% of candidates in the UAE would refuse a good offer if they had a negative experience during recruitment. Most talents imagine their ideal career in a stable job with a good work-life balance and time for family, friends, and hobbies. However, a main deal breaker when looking for a job is still financial compensation,” said Dr. Christopher Daniel, Managing Director and Senior Partner at BCG Middle East.

The majority of participants (67%), stated that they prioritize having a steady career with a decent work-life balance. Across all employment types, industries, and age groups, this inclination is prevalent. Working on fascinating products, ideas, and technologies is third (32%) after advancing your career at a reputable company, which is ranked second (64%). 

Although 34% of respondents still choose hybrid employment, this result indicates an unexpected fall from BCG’s autumn 2020 study, in which 50% of respondents from the UAE indicated they would work remotely for a firm without a physical presence in their nation. A full-time office presence was mentioned as their preferred work paradigm by the majority of UAE respondents (58%) today.

Individuals may wish for a stable career that allows for a healthy work-life balance, but in the UAE, the study noted, job seekers who are considering a specific offer typically give the financial package top importance and cite low pay and bonuses as the biggest turnoffs (16%). Retirement and insurance benefits are in second place (13%), followed by better relationships in third place (12%).

According to the study, regardless of cohort, compensation and work-life balance are typically the two top demands, but age-related deal breakers alter dramatically. For example, younger workers place a high emphasis on flexible work environments, flexible work schedules, and corporate principles.

For employees between the ages of 30 and 50, paid vacation time, retirement perks, and insurance coverage are priorities. On the other hand, opportunities to take charge, lead others, and relationships with superiors, rank relatively highly among respondents aged 50 to 60 or older.

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