UAE: Job title, salary among top 2 priorities for Emiratis searching for vacancies

It also showed that candidates are looking for a more transparent research process, with 90 per cent of respondents preferring visibility on salary range

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Published: Tue 7 Feb 2023, 11:03 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Feb 2023, 2:27 PM

Job title, salary and location of the work are some of the most important factors Emiratis look at when picking a job. This has been revealed by the 2023 Emiratisation Salary Guide and Hiring Insights, released by recruitment firm Michael Page, that highlight findings relating to salary benchmarks and outlook of job applicants on key topics like job application, candidate experience, and ideal job scenarios.

Guidelines effective January 1, 2023, set forth by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) stated that companies with more than 50 employees are required to ensure that 2 per cent of their employees are Emirati. This will be increased to 4 per cent by January 1, 2024. Failure to comply will result in a range of financial and legal penalties. Companies that already exceed the mandated Emiratisation quota can expect financial discounts to help sustain growth.

Findings by the 2023 Emiratisation Salary Guide reveal that among Emirati talent that is actively seeking recruitment, almost six in ten or 59 per cent applicants consider a job title to be the most important element of a job listing. For 59 per cent of the candidates, salary, followed by location, (41 per cent) matter the most.

Candidates are also looking for a more transparent research process, with 90 per cent of respondents preferring visibility on salary range, and 77 per cent interested in learning more about the organisation’s non-monetary benefits.

Hiring sentiments

In addition to this, 39 per cent of respondents revealed that they wouldn’t apply for a role if they felt under/overqualified for it, while 35 per cent wouldn’t consider a role that was posted a long time ago. Other factors that prevent candidates from submitting their application include poor company reputation (30 per cent), salary (29 per cent), and an unstructured job listing (25 per cent). A full 19 per cent of respondents said that they wouldn’t apply for a position if it involved filling out long forms.

Another notable takeaway was that 78 per cent of survey respondents were keen on joining companies that are proactively committed to corporate social responsibility (CSR). Interest in CSR values ranged from human rights (61 per cent), environmental responsibility (56 per cent), and economic responsibility (50 per cent).

61 per cent of respondents also give immense importance to the leadership capabilities of their managers, followed by communication and respect. In line with the overarching trend in the UAE job market, over 72 per cent of respondents prefer to integrate a hybrid model into their professional lives.

An interesting insight to come out of the study was that 36 per cent of survey respondents said they would consider returning to their former company if the opportunity arose. Furthermore, 6 out of 10 respondents (57 per cent) strongly believe that, in the end, returning (to a former employer) is a win-win solution for both parties. However, it appears that there is not enough awareness from the employer's end when it comes to returning programs, with 52 per cent of respondents stating that they weren't aware of any such programs in place.

Salary Guide

The salary guide covers industry disciplines, including but not limited to: Banking and Financial Services, Human Resources, Legal, Marketing, Procurement and Supply Chain, and Technology & Data.

The comprehensive report has been developed as a reference for hiring managers and job seekers to make informed employment decisions this year, with the goal to achieve targets announced by the (MoHRE) on Emiritisation. The year 2022 saw the strongest push to hire Emiratis in the private sector across the UAE to meet requirements the set forth by MoHRE.

According to Michael Page, the company saw increased activity at the junior end of the market; particularly fresh graduates in industries like IT, Technology, and Finance, triggering an increase in salaries being offered. “It’s interesting to see the different approaches being taken up across a range of industries in the UAE,” said Samantha Wright, Emiratisation Lead at Michael Page UAE. “Research shows that businesses venturing into Emiratisation for the first time are mostly progressing with a bottom-up talent approach. Those close to achieving their quota continue to develop their Emiratisation strategy with a combination of entry roles, and senior roles mainly in Human Resources and Finance.”

According to Wright, the most important factor were the tools and procedures put in place to facilitate this transition. “Platforms like Nafis are dedicated to offering various benefits, including the Emirati salary support scheme for specific industries. The Emirati Talent Competitiveness Council has held over 1,500 workshops and virtual meetings to assist private companies in straightening their Emiratisation policies.”

The overall outlook for Emiratisation in 2023 is optimistic based on collective efforts by authorities, businesses, and candidates - all working together for a smooth transition amidst the backdrop of a market as complex and as dynamic as the UAE.

“Adjustments to policies and deadlines are expected throughout the year", Wright predicts, "but overall, the wheels are in motion to ensure that Emiratisation efforts are seamlessly integrated into what is expected to be a promising year for the UAE.”

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