UAE: Why 82% job-seekers are looking to move to companies within country

The UAE job market is quite attractive thanks to variety of measures taken by the govt, including specialised residency permits and visas


Waheed Abbas

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Published: Tue 24 Oct 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Tue 24 Oct 2023, 4:36 PM

The majority of the employees – 82 per cent – in the UAE plan to look for opportunities within the country as the local market offers better prospects for career growth as well as competitive remunerations, according to a new survey released by Zurich International Life.

The UAE job market has been quite attractive – and competitive as well – over the past couple of years, thanks to a variety of measures taken by the government, including residency permits and visas for a variety of categories and professions. The UAE has also provided numerous incentives for foreign companies

In addition to job opportunities, world-class quality of life, quality education and safety and security are some of the factors attracting companies and job seekers.

Global recruitment agency IG Recruit said in a note that the UAE job market has shown remarkable growth in the first quarter of 2023, defying global trends, particularly in the technology and human resources sectors, driven by the introduction of strategic projects and initiatives.

“Recruiters are optimistic about the ongoing economic surge in Dubai, foreseeing this positive momentum to persist… The technology sector, in particular, has been active in terms of hiring, with research showing 77 per cent of organisations are expanding their workforce. This growth can be attributed to the well-planned and implemented new projects and initiatives,” it said in the note.

In light of the strong hiring trend, salary increases for skilled professionals are being also observed from this year onwards, IG Recruit said.

According to the Zurich International Life survey, which was conducted by market research company Radius Insights, Australia, the US, Western Europe, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait are the other markets which are at the top of the list of UAE employees looking to change jobs.

The survey found that the inclination to move to Western countries is notably higher among Asian and Western expats.

“Recently, there’s a growing interest among employees in the UAE to potentially relocate to other GCC countries including Saudi Arabia, due to the opportunities linked to the Vision 2030 initiatives such as Neom, Red Sea project and Qiddiya,” said the survey, which was conducted in July-August 2023, covering 2,507 respondents in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, of which 1,255 were employers and 1,252 employees.

The Zurich International Life study also found that nearly three-fourths – 74 per cent – of the UAE employees will explore new careers over the next 12 to 18 months while 38 per cent of employees revealed that they intended to continue in the same role and feel stuck.

Moreover, around 25 per cent of UAE employees changed jobs in the past year drawn by better remuneration, enhanced employee benefits, and professional advancement opportunities. Among expatriates, nearly half – 49 per cent – of Western expats changed jobs in the last 12 months.


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