UAE jobs: 95% employees are looking for new opportunities, says survey

Job loyalty is no longer a given; even generally happy employees are open to better prospects

by

Sahim Salim

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Published: Thu 8 Jun 2023, 12:08 PM

Last updated: Sat 10 Jun 2023, 10:56 AM

A whopping 95 per cent of UAE-based employees are currently open to new opportunities in the jobs market, a global survey has found.

Conducted globally by recruiter PageGroup, the parent company of Michael Page, the Talent Trends survey found that close to 70 per cent UAE-based respondents are active job-seekers. These are either currently looking for a new role or planning to do so in the next six months. A further 27 per cent are on the fence about looking elsewhere, but are waiting until the economy improves, or for the right opportunity.


The global survey covered 70,000 working adults around the world, including 625 respondents in the UAE.

Here are the key findings from the UAE report:


  • 9 in 10 respondents who started a new job within the last year are open to new opportunities.
  • 6 in 10 people would choose mental health and work-life balance over career success.
  • 8 in 10 employees are satisfied with their current workloads.
  • Half (51 per cent) are satisfied with their salaries. This means employees can be happy in a role, but still have one eye on their next move.
  • UAE talents ranked work-life balance first for job satisfaction (49 per cent).
  • 32 per cent respondents are willing to reject a promotion if they believe it will have a negative effect on their wellbeing.
  • 60 per cent employers said matching salary expectations was one of the biggest recruitment challenges.

Looking for new opportunities now easier

About half (54 per cent) of workers in the UAE are in full-time office roles, with fully remote (11 per cent) and hybrid working models (35 per cent) increasingly becoming the norm. This means more people find it easier to look for jobs — and be contacted by recruiters — while performing their duties in the privacy of their homes.

Data suggests that the ‘great resignation’ trend is not slowing, with 2022 recording a resignation level double that of 2021 (29 per cent vs. 15 per cent) globally.

Pierre-Emmanuel Dupil, senior managing director – Middle East & Africa at Michael Page, said: “The great resignation, quiet quitting, and similar variations have dominated conversations in the post-pandemic world of work. These terms refer to a subtle but transformative shift in workplace dynamics that has occurred around the world. We believe these changes add up to an ‘invisible revolution’, with significant implications for employers.”

Quiet quitting is a trend that sees employees do the bare minimum at work and not go beyond the call of duty.

“Seismic shifts in employee attitudes and motivations have created a new talent landscape — no age group, country, or industry is unaffected. There’s no going back to the way things were pre-pandemic; the change we see today is here to stay.”

Dupil said job loyalty is no longer a given. “Even generally happy employees are open to moving on to a better opportunity. The relentless resignation cycle will not be slowing down — change is the new status quo.”

Nicholas Kirk, CEO, PageGroup, said the trends in the UAE mirror the sentiment of the global talent market.

“It is clear there has been a universal reset of people’s relationships with their jobs. Work-life balance, a competitive salary, and strong career progression prospects have become non-negotiable, and professionals are willing to leave their current roles to secure these elsewhere.

“These are not fleeting trends or reactionary responses to a period of turbulence. Rather, they are reshaping the workplace in a way that will subtly yet fundamentally change the way businesses attract and retain their talent.”

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