One in four employees within the UAE and Saudi Arabia have switched jobs in the past year, shedding the light on the importance of retaining talent for employers.These findings is part of a new research, commissioned by Zurich International Life in the Middle East and conducted by market research company Radius Insights.
The research was conducted in July and August 2023, surveyed 2,507 respondents in the UAE and KSA, of which 1,255 were employers and 1,252 employees.
Factors Driving Job Change
Around 25% of employees in the UAE and KSA have changed jobs in the last year as they seekbetter remuneration, enhanced employee benefits, and professional advancement opportunities.
In KSA, 78% of employees are considering changing jobs, with a similar sentiment shared by 74% of their UAE counterparts.
“With a clear call for action and strategy to retain talent, the UAE government is also contributing with a range of initiatives to solidify its standing as a preferred destination for global talent,” said a statement by the company.
Talent Shortage Looms Amid Dissatisfaction with Employee Benefits
Both countries have a significant talent shortage, standing at approximately 24% for the UAE and 30% for KSA. The shortage is seen within Operations and Logistics sectors in both countries.
“New Emiratisation laws for the private sector further complicate the talent acquisition landscape, affecting employers’ ability to find the right talent fit,” said the company.
Moreover, there is a clear gap observed between what employers currently offer and what employees wish to receive. Therefore, one-third of employees in the UAE and KSA express dissatisfaction with their current employee benefits packages, especially concerning workplace savings, financial wellbeing.
Understanding Employee Priorities
“Employee benefits remain central to establishing long-term relationships between employers and employees, with nearly 9 out of 10 employees surveyed considering employee benefits an extremely important pillar, often surpassing the importance of salary,” said the company
“In a dynamic work environment, fostering employee retention requires focus on not just financial rewards but also aligning values and nurturing a cohesive work culture. Right from prioritizing the mental well-being of employees to implementing long-term incentive plans, all of it will contribute immensely to retaining talent,” said Swarnaleka Shetty Vyas, Head of Sales & Distribution, Corporate Life & Pensions at Zurich International Life.
She added that there is a growing significance of financial wellness and trust among employees, underscoring the need for collaborative efforts to shape a promising positive future of work culture.
The Role of Employee Benefits
The research shows that an overwhelming 84% of employees surveyed stated they would willingly change jobs for a new role with the same pay but better employee benefits. An insight that puts employers in the spotlight to adapt to changing needs by introducing employee benefits that address critical goals valued most by employees.
“Employee benefits have taken centre stage and are rapidly evolving, pushing employers to adopt a holistic approach to talent retention,” said Adam Watterson, Senior Executive Officer at Zurich Workplace Solutions.
“One of the trending areas is workplace savings and pensions for expatriates concerned about their retirement planning. End-of-service benefits will play a pivotal role in drawing talent from international markets and fostering financial stability,” added Watterson.
According to the research, employers must proactively reassess and elevate their employee benefits packages, with a laser focus on critical aspects such as workplace savings, financial well-being education, life insurance, child education allowance and critical illness cover.
“The shift in employee priorities does not only gives employers an opportunity to position themselves as an employer of choice but also helps them build enduring mutually beneficial relationships with employees in a fiercely competitive job market,” added the company.