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Top challenges facing job seekers in the Middle East today include lack of suitable job opportunities and work permit issues. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: About 72.9 per cent of job seekers in the Middle East believe the job market will be significantly more competitive in 2024, according to a recent survey. Only 18.6 per cent of the surveyed audience believe there will be a ‘slight increase’ in competition, according to’s Middle East Career Insights Poll 2023.

The survey took responses from 2,271 respondents from over 15 MENA region countries, including UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Lebanon, and Jordan. It provides insights into the preferences and experiences of professionals in the region.

Showing a similar trend, a 2023 LinkedIn job posting poll revealed that Dubai and Doha top the list of the world’s most competitive jobs market. Dubai, Doha and San Francisco are among the places with the highest number of candidates per LinkedIn job posting in February, according to a study from online resume builder

According to the survey, Middle Eastern job seekers prioritize career growth over competitive salaries regarding joy and loyalty. Regarding factors that make professionals loyal to their current employers, career growth opportunities (29.8 per cent) and work-life balance (24.4 per cent) are among the top priorities.

Competitive salary (21.1 per cent) and positive company culture (20.4 per cent) are other factors that significantly attract employee loyalty, the survey showed.

More professionals are willing to move

The survey revealed said that a growing number of professionals are displaying an increasing willingness to relocate for better career prospects.

“A majority of respondents (62.2 per cent) are willing to relocate anywhere, showing a high level of mobility within the region,” stated the Career Insights Poll.

Ola Haddad, Director of Human Resources at
"Awareness is growing, and MENA professionals are recognizing the inherent value of diverse and inclusive workplaces," says Ola. Image Credit: Supplied

Meanwhile, 21.5 per cent are willing to relocate within the Middle East, and 12.2 per cent would only consider relocating for exceptional opportunities.

“Job seekers need to equip themselves with relevant skills and stand out from the competition to secure lucrative career opportunities,” said Ola Haddad, Director of Human Resources at

Commenting on the top challenges facing job seekers in the Middle East today, Ola said 36.6 per cent believe that lack of suitable job opportunities is their main hurdle, followed by 24.2 per cent who highlighted visa and work permit issues.

Diverse workplace

According to the poll, 74.4 per cent of respondents believe that a diverse and inclusive workplace is essential when considering a job opportunity.

“Workplace diversity is not just a buzzword; it is a fundamental pillar of successful organizations in the Middle East,” said Ola. “Awareness is growing, and MENA professionals recognise the inherent value of diverse and inclusive workplaces.”

Work-life balance

The poll findings indicate that career growth opportunities and work-life balance are critical factors in employee loyalty in the Middle East.

Regarding work-life balance, 45.1 per cent of professionals rated the balance offered by their current employer as excellent, while 33.6 per cent considered it good. Only 4.1 per cent believe their employer needs to provide a better work-life balance.