Revealed: Top 5 qualities UAE employers look for in job-seekers

Most employers look inter-cultural skills

Unlocking the secret formula to winning the hearts and minds of employers is any job-seeker’s dream. Getting to know the skills and values that most of the country’s employers desire is a big step toward getting hired, promoted and rewarded over the years.

Various surveys and research reports highlight what is at the top of an employer’s mind when hiring a candidate.

The latest research published by the British Council in partnership with Booz Allen Hamilton and Ipsos Public Affairs, reveals that it is the diversity that most employers look for in the UAE, tagging it as intercultural skills.

This one skill is amongst the most highly valued by employers in the country states the survey.

Majority of the country’s employers (59 per cent) said employees with intercultural skills are likely to be promoted more quickly. This is much higher when compared to the 37 per cent average across the nine countries that were surveyed.

The nine countries where employers were surveyed include the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom the United States, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Jordan and South Africa.

A whopping 57 per cent of UAE employers actively screen candidates for intercultural skills in their recruitment process (compared to 46 per cent average), putting this skill in much demand in the country.

Intercultural skills is defined as the ability to understand different cultural contexts and viewpoints, adapt easily to different cultural settings, demonstrate respect for others, and communicate in foreign languages.

The survey highlights that those who possess this skill are more likely to bring in new clients, work well in diverse teams, and build trust and relationships with clients. Employees who lack intercultural skills leave their organisation susceptible to risks, including conflict and miscommunication within teams, loss of clients and loss of sales, puts the survey.

The employees in the country have good intercultural skills but there are other areas where employers believe that candidates do not score well.

Finding qualified candidates and keeping up with technological innovation are the two most pressing business challenges facing UAE employers.

Good communications skills are an area where employees need to work on. The survey highlights that this is a more pressing human resources issue for employers than finding candidates with the right formal qualifications. A big number of employers (71 per cent) believe that UAE educators could do more to develop good communications skills in employees of the future.

As per a recent release by, employers in the country lay emphasis on finding candidates with good communication skills, ability to be a cooperative, helpful and being having the flexibility to be team player, and having good leadership skills.

Regionally, the most desirable qualifications for candidates are in business management, commerce, engineering, and computer science. Good communication skills in English and Arabic are most desirable by employers, though being a cooperative, helpful and flexible team player is also considered highly. In terms of experience, most highly regarded is the ability to manage a team, followed by computer skills and sales and marketing, as per’s findings.


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