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22 April 2024

UAE employers beware: Your best talent may ditch you in 2013

By Shuchita Kapur

The last few weeks of 2012 seem to be loaded with subtle warnings to employers in the UAE – your people may walk out of the door next year unless you take active steps to meet their growing demands.

The war for talent is back with a bang in the region, as a majority of employees in the UAE and the Mena region at large are contemplating a job switch in the coming year.

According to a new survey by Bayt.com, 65.3 per cent of respondents (Mena based) are set to welcome 2013 with a new job. “[They are] hoping to change jobs over the next year,” the survey revealed.

Most employees in the UAE and throughout the region have stayed put in their current positions for a variety of reasons – first and foremost, not many firms were hiring for new positions, which put a dampener on the number of jobs available in the market.

Second, even those that were advertising for new positions were not compelled to pay higher packages as the number of people from across the globe – especially the recession-stuck Euro Zone area – looking for greener pastures of Dubai and Abu Dhabi was on the rise. This kept the lid firmly on the salaries on offer.

However, the past dismal years are now giving way to renewed optimism in the job market, making professionals believe it’s time to turn over a new leaf.

Previous surveys also tell a similar tale. A recent poll run by Emirates 24|7 also revealed that job change remains firm on the resolutions list of many residents in the country.

“After a long period of increased work and frozen compensation, I’m willing to take risks now. I’m really disappointed with my current job,” wrote a respondent.

The determination to land a job in the New Year has become stronger for many as job opportunities have also increased substantially over the past twelve months.

The poll conducted by Bayt.com shows that 75.3 per cent of Mena professionals are feeling positive about ushering in 2013.

Jobs will open up in many sectors in the UAE in the next one year. As per Morgan McKinley experts, oil & gas and construction are picking up.

“Regional and local banks will have a good year ahead and international banks will be catching up. We should look at sales & marketing, procurement and finance roles to increase,” said Trefor Murphy, Managing Director of the recruitment company.

Experts believe that the market is a reflection of the number of vacancies posted on job portals. “Over 11,000 jobs are advertised on an average day on [our website], which is a healthy and robust increase from last year,” said Lama Ataya, CMO, Bayt.com

“It is worth bearing in mind that the industries that are still perceived to be attracting/retaining the top talent in the UAE are: banking/finance (34 per cent), oil, gas and petrochemicals (32 per cent) and telecommunications (27 per cent),” she added.

The latest Monster Employment Index also indicates an 8 per cent growth in Middle Eastern job opportunities (on an annual basis).

Sectors that show strong growth as per the Index are production/manufacturing, automotive and ancillary. Professionals in sales and business development, software, hardware and telecom occupations have seen opportunities grow, giving them a reason to cheer in the New Year.

Employers may not be going out of their ways to retain talent, but the smarter ones are gearing up to limit any kind of turnover.

Thus, we heard of single-digit increments and bonuses being handed out by many companies in the country. Experts from different recruitment companies put the hike figure between 5 and 8 per cent. And, it doesn’t end here as many are expected to undergo end-of-year appraisals in addition to what they have already managed in the year.

Of those who are expected to undergo year-end appraisals, 48 per cent are set to request a higher salary for 2013, and 19 per cent will strive for a higher position or better title.

We are still away from the days of immediate counter-offers, but it may be about time for bosses to recognise the hard work being put in, say experts. Lip-service, they believe, should be put to rest with the recession years.

The loyal and the hardworking employees will need a bigger job, more upward potential, keeping the enthusiasts enthused, and of course, the monetary benefits – to keep them working in 2013.