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More workers consider changing jobs in UAE

Employees cite poor company values, bad managers and lack of progression

  • By Cleofe Maceda, Senior Reporter
  • Published: 21:00 November 9, 2012
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Supplied

The UAE and other countries in the Middle East may still be a preferred destination for expats but a huge portion of workers are not satisfied with their current jobs.

The Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) survey showed that 48 per cent of employees are actively looking for a new opportunity, while a fourth (25 per cent) said they might consider other career options within the UAE.

Employees listed poor company values and culture, dissatisfaction with senior management and lack of career advancement opportunities as the top three factors that would make them consider leaving.

“While the UAE is an exciting place to work and develop experience, it is still not as big a market as other major cities such as London and New York. Hence, expats might be attracted to take bigger roles in bigger markets,” said Peter Felix, president of AESC.

Asked what they want most from their job, nearly half of the employees (47.9 per cent) cited career progression and more than a third (31.3 per cent) cited higher salary.

A strong majority (76.5 per cent) also noted that their companies don’t have any policies in place that help them save, and while they believe extracurricular activities can make for a great place to work, most employees (68.6 per cent) said their HR department doesn’t organize programs such as sports, family day and picnics.

To restore employee confidence and retain more staff, Felix said companies must therefore have policies in place to help their staff achieve work-life balance and progress in their career.

To strengthen employee retention, Stefan Ehrnborg, general manager of Rheem Manufacturing MEA, suggested the following strategies:

• Strong corporate culture promoting risk taking and autonomous decision making. A distinct culture can also neutralize national clusters within the diverse UAE workplace and become a strong retaining factor.

• Less policies to adhere to and bolder visions to act on. Numerous UAE organizations live with the misconception that policies can replace continuous employee training and development which unfortunately results in disengagement and a tendency to lose sight of the customer needs. These organizations must rethink their view of the team member and realize that he/she is key to success.

• Transparent talent management in terms of career paths and promotions. Promotions are still an arbitrary process shared between too few individuals in the organizations resulting in frustration and eventually loss of real talents. Organisations in the UAE shall make a bigger effort to build a brand around equal opportunities. This will not only strengthen retention but even attract a new breed of higher calibre talents.

Comments (35)

  1. Added 17:06 November 10, 2012

    Correct article at the correct time. Certainly most of the companies never appreciate employee talent even there is no career advancement opportunities. They are mostly misusng the term recession and none of the companies taking risk in investing.

    Anonymous, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 16:55 November 10, 2012

    I strongly agree with this article. In fact, unfair working system is common in this country. They would not mind of the extra curricular of their employees, what they are thinking is work as much as they like. They wouldn't even give holidays even its public holidays or give consideration to other nationalities tradition. And the worst is, you are not learning instead, you mind became more and more stagnant. No improvement, very poor. I hope the authorities will check and see what's going on... Honestly, we are only here for the salary nothing else... Instead you are learning and saving, it falls only to spending even without benefits.

    Anonymous, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 16:38 November 10, 2012

    Certainly,there is no promotions or other incentives for new employees. Globally they are getting more attractions for their family welfare and higher educational facilities. New recruits work first two years and search for new openings, again train and search for new talents. Financial rewards are also not encouraging the new graduates,so they switch one job to other in need of better position. Give good salary and incentives and know their achievements,take care of the talent pool, Once lost it is impossible to get a brilliant one.

    Gopalan. K.P., Bangluru, India

  4. Added 16:35 November 10, 2012

    I strongly believe UAE is one of the best places to live in. Unfortunately companies in the country have started misutilising the financial crisis to squeeze their staff. This has started from 2009 onwards...

    Anonymous, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 16:22 November 10, 2012

    It's true the authorities must notice it and take feedback from workers and give option to change job because they give 6 month ban even company terminate employee.. Is it right? Kindly the authorities should change his policies.

    Haseeb Sarwar Khan, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 16:08 November 10, 2012

    I would agree to most of the comments here, As an addition I would also like to point out that the place where I work, Most of us are made to work by force on goverment holidays. No basic facilities, furthermore it goes to an extent of threat to sack us if we ask basic needs. Salary raise ......no chance ...From my graduation I have been very keen about learning new technologies attending technical gathering, here we are not encouraged at all, sometimes I just cant help myself take a loss of pay and attend these exhibitions. Career development, gainig competencies is zero........

    Ajay, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 15:42 November 10, 2012

    Most of our co employees are afraid to leave our company because of the 90 days policy (3 months notice to leave the company / resign). as per labor one month is enough. Is it against the labor to have 3 months notice. thanks

    Anonymous, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 15:26 November 10, 2012

    I second the opinion to make it compulsory to have 2 days off a week. In the long run, the economic loss owing to fatigue and lack of social life much exceeds the minuscule economic profit of working that extra day. In order to attract and retain talent, companies and government will have to mandate this, because unless there is a mandate, employers tend to focus on the short term gain and ignore the long term effect.

    Anonymous, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 15:26 November 10, 2012

    Nowadays many companies are not even paying salaries on time, I have a lot of friends who are facing this situation. This is the major reason for people to switch the jobs.

    Anonymous, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 15:20 November 10, 2012

    All big organizations looks corporate from outside, but once you get in the circus is same only the clowns are changed. Perhaps I have seen employee not even recognized for their hard work forget perks or benefits. Work culture is sad for third world countries employees, not forgetting to mention considerations are still done biased on surnames and not with efforts. I really wish UAE authorities relax job changing rules so an individual can look for best of best...!

    Anonymous, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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