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03 October 2023

Top 10 firms to work for in UAE

Picture used for illustrative purposes only. (AGENCIES)

By Staff

The Great Place to Work Institute, a global research and management consultancy that recognises the best workplaces in over 45 countries worldwide, today released its inaugural list of ‘Top Companies to Work for in the UAE’.

The official list is a ranking of the nation’s 10 best employers based on the confidential feedback from their staff and an independent culture audit of their HR practices by the Institute.

The benchmarking study assesses what companies do on a daily basis to earn and sustain the trust and respect of their people. Two-thirds of a company's score is based on the results of the Institute's proprietary Trust Index survey, which is sent to a random sample of employees from each company. The survey asks questions related to their attitudes about management's credibility, job satisfaction, and workplace camaraderie. The other third of the scoring is based on the company's responses to the Institute's Culture Audit, which includes detailed questions about pay and benefit programs and a series of open-ended questions about hiring, communication, and diversity.

UAE-based companies from a wide range of industry sectors participated in the program in 2010. In accordance with the practices of the Great Place to Work Institute, only those companies recognized for their exemplary employee management and engagement processes are recognized on the list of “Top Companies”.

A total of 10 companies made it onto the inaugural ‘2011 Top Companies to Work for in the UAE’ list with the results showing an even split between local firms and multinational companies. The Institute says the final results point to a maturing HR sector in the UAE while providing examples of best practice from which other companies can learn.

Securing the number one position on the 2011 list by recording the highest levels of employee trust, pride and camaraderie, was Microsoft Gulf FZ LLC. Its “worklife balance charter”, an “onboarding roadmap” for new hires, a Gulf-based “employee experience” committee and community engagement CSR program, were among the internal procedures recognized by the Institute as contributing to its leading result.

Commenting on the Top Companies list, Dr. Michael Burchell, Partner & Director of Great Place to Work Institute UAE said: “We would firstly like to thank everybody that participated in the program and congratulate each of the 10 companies that have been recognized as top companies to work for in the UAE. We are also very pleased to see that half the companies on our inaugural UAE list are homegrown firms. While there is an expectation that multinationals will have more sophisticated HR practices, these results suggest there is a growing understanding within the UAE market of the direct correlation between workplace culture, employee satisfaction and business performance.”

“Our Top Companies program measures the strength of an employer’s brand. By evaluating levels of credibility, respect, fairness, pride and camaraderie between employees and their managers, their jobs and their colleagues, we are able to help organizations improve their productivity and profitability. It is important that we celebrate and recognize those companies that have mastered this tricky balance of high performance with people centric management so that other businesses can learn from their experience,” he added.

David Robert, also a Partner & Director of Great Place to Work Institute UAE commented further: “Another important finding was a shared understanding among the companies that sustainability reaches far beyond a company’s impact on the surrounding natural resources to include the impact on its human resources.

The balance between high performance and people centric management does not mean accepting something less than the best. Instead, the right balance can be used to uncover hidden potential, elevate the overall performance of the company, and ultimately strengthen the company’s relationships with its customers.”

The Top Companies to Work For in the UAE in 2011 are:

  1. Microsoft
    Employees certainly benefit from Microsoft’s “worklife balance charter”, “onboarding roadmap” for new hires, and Gulf-based “employee experience” committee, but Microsoft also supports employees’ efforts in getting involved in the community providing them three days each year to give back.
  2. Fed Ex
    FedEx’s corporate philosophy of People-Service-Profit fosters the type of working environment that develops and rewards its employees while focusing on customer needs.
  3. Pepsi Co Asia, Middle East & Africa
    Food & Beverage
    PepsiCo values are not only communicated, but are also audited to check for compliance and integration into their culture so that they know if they are doing well against their Values.
  4. Marriott
    Marriott has a distinct culture where it inspires every employee to perform through its “Spirit to Serve” program.
  5. Merck Serono
    Every year, all of the employees of Merck from across the region come together for four or five days at an exotic location to celebrate their successes, develop teamwork, and plan for the future.
  6. THE One
    Employees are a part of the Tribe at The One, where it’s more than selling home décor.  It is about changing the world, and they have lots of opportunities to do so, including being involved in corporate social responsibility efforts such as The Onederworld Programme.
  7. SHUAA Capital
    Financial Services
    SHUAA Capital is committed to the development of its employees through a phased development program that properly prepares staff members to be successful as they take on more responsibility.
  8. Bayt.com
    Bayt.com takes employee suggestions very seriously and considers them to be reservoirs of business ideas which could lead to the ‘next big thing’ for the company. Internal sites are available to employees to offer administrative as well as innovative business suggestions and to share experiences and success stories that continuously feed into internal best practice.
  9. Zayed University
    Zayed University launched a recognition program with the “platinum rule” of “recognizing people the way they want to be recognized”. The overarching mission of this program is to energize and engage employees while fostering a culture of appreciation.
  10. Dulsco LLC
    HR & Industrial Services
    Dulsco takes great pride in itself as a company and the 75 years it has been in service in the UAE. To celebrate this milestone the company organized year round ‘Platinum Jubilee Celebration’ activities every month of 2010.

The Great Place to Work Institute expanded to the UAE in March 2010 following increased demand from the GCC countries for its workplace evaluation services.

Its UAE operation will serve as the regional headquarters for the Middle East, with consultants and sales staff to be appointed in each market. By 2012, Great Place to Work Institute plans to publish “Top Companies to Work For” lists in each of the GCC countries.

The list: Any UAE company with 50 or more employees was eligible to participate in the fee-based programme.

Any company that appears on the list is selected primarily on the basis of their employees' responses to the Great Place to Work Trust Index, a proprietary employee survey developed by the Great Place to Work Institute. 

In addition, the Institute evaluated materials submitted by the company, including the company's response to the Great Place to Work Culture Audit, any accompanying materials submitted by the company for consideration, as well as information gathered from other reputable sources such as media stories about the company. Organisations were able to apply between March and October of 2010 for the January, 2011 list.

Companies from across a variety of industries and emirates applied for recognition to the 2011 list.  In accordance with Great Place to Work practices, the Institute cannot reveal details of companies or group of companies that did not make this list, including whether or not a company has participated for selection on the list.