UAE jobs: Many professionals will change occupations if not allowed to work from home, say consultants

If employers are looking to retain their best talent, they advise, they need to carefully consider what their workforce wants, and that includes flexibility

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Waheed Abbas

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Published: Mon 17 Apr 2023, 9:00 PM

Last updated: Tue 18 Apr 2023, 12:02 PM

Work from home or remote work is one of the top priorities for professionals in the UAE, and they prefer to work for those that offer this option, say recruitment consultants.

Virtual work is becoming ubiquitous, and the pandemic has been a catalyst for change in the way people work, especially professionals.

Vijay Gandhi, regional director, Korn Ferry, said professionals who are working in central functions prefer working remotely and value the flexibility to work from home, with a greater sense of control over thrust time.

“And with post-recovery, organisations are now doing more than simply enabling remote work. In certain job functions or industries such as professional services, it’s clear a remote workforce is likely to remain part of the normal operating rhythm,” said Gandhi.

According to a survey conducted by LinkedIn, a majority – 77 per cent – of professionals in the UAE are considering a job switch this year, with the lack of remote work or work-from-home options being one of the top reasons for leaving the company.

Meanwhile, Bayt.com has around 1,500 work-from-home jobs posted on the portal, with 600-plus positions available in the GCC and over 300 in the UAE. However, the figures are subject to change on a daily basis.

Nicki Wilson, managing director of Genie Recruitment, said there is more flexibility coming into workplaces across the UAE, but definitely not all workplaces, as it varies from industry to industry.

“It is really important to maintain a specific kind of work culture as well by having your team in the office. I have seen a lot of companies doing three days in the office or one-day work from home, [with] more flexibility around that aspect,” said Wilson.

She stressed that some kind of flexibility is great for companies as the hybrid work model works really well, and is a win-win situation for both employers and employees.

Gandhi added that remote work is required to address the tension between remote-able work and remote-able talent.

“All of us have already learned so much about what does and doesn’t work with remote working, that now is the time to make it work more effectively for people,” he said, adding that having a good model and the right talent-management practices will definitely help to create innovative work practices.

Najat Abdelhadi, head of communications and career expert, LinkedIn Mena, said that if employers are looking to retain their best talent, who will help them stay on top and navigate the fast-changing business landscape, they need to carefully consider what their workforce wants, and that includes flexibility.

Work-from-home job options

Ola Haddad, director of human resources at Bayt.com, added that the website has a wide range of work-from-home openings for jobseekers in the UAE, with employers actively seeking candidates for various roles. Some of the most commonly advertised titles include call centre representative, marketing specialist, sales executive, business development manager, and finance officer among others.

According to LinkedIn, Najat the top five sectors in UAE with the highest share of remote job postings as of February 2023 are technology, information and media, followed by professional services, wholesale, consumer services, and interestingly oil, gas and mining.

Skills in demand for WFH

Common skills:

  • Strong communication
  • Adaptability
  • Flexibility
  • Good negotiation
  • Multitasking
  • Good organisational techniques

Technology/IT/Media:

  • Software-as-a-service (SaaS)
  • Business-to-business (B2B)
  • Social media skills
  • Professional services
  • Accounting software
  • Tally ERP
  • QuickBooks
  • Interior Design
  • Wholesale sector
  • Tally ERP
  • Direct Sales and Sales & Marketing
  • Consumer services sector
  • Arabic language
  • Bilinguals

“Recruiters are on the lookout for candidates with the right skills to match their rapidly evolving strategies. It's no longer enough to have a university degree or a few years of experience under your belt. To stand out from the crowd, you need to have the right skills that help drive greater productivity and growth for the business,” said Najat Abdelhadi.

“Skills have, in fact, become so significant that the required skills across sectors have changed by 27 per cent on average in the UAE from 2015 to 2022. And with the Covid-19 pandemic shaking up the job market, the pace of change has only accelerated. That's why job seekers need to stay on top of the latest skills needed for their jobs,” Abdelhadi added.

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