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.