Workforce trends shaping UAE’s ambition

The infrastructure, quality of  life and beneficial tax regime; alongside the influx of foreign direct investments; in addition, to the new businesses being set up in a knowledge based economy has all helped to make an upbeat and optimistic outlook for the talent market in the UAE.

Therefore, Zurich along with YouGov conducted a survey by 1,006 employers and 1,015 employees to understand if there is a talent shortage, employee benefits and workplace culture and social leadership.

The first finding of the report shows that half of the employers believe that there is a talent shortage; however, 76 percent of the employees are loong to change their jobs in the next 12 months. According to the survey 62 percent of employers said that talent shortage is severe on business productivity  and portability.

“As we move forward it looks like a retention problem rather than an attraction problem,” explained Sajeev Nair, Senior Executive Officer, Zurich Workplace Solutions, Middle East during his keynote speech during the HR Summit and Expo.

Employees are moving jobs  due to salary and growth opportunities. According to those surveyed, 89 percent of employees said they would take the ame job with the same salary if employee benefits are better.

The survey found that less than one third of the employers are providing some sort of non mandatory benefits. “There is no common understanding between what constitutes a comprehensive set of benefits,” added Nair.

According to the survey  86 percent of employers would offer additional employee benefits  if they were easily available at a competitive price. They said that the workload and additional costs are major barriers.

Compelling employee benefits packages are crucial over and above salary is important not just to attract but also  to retain talent, especially the talents of tomorrow. “These are people that are aware of social issues and they expect employers to take to social issues” added Nair.

Employees seem far more aware of the values and they want their employers to walk the talk. For example, they want their leaders to be held accountable and empathetic towards the employees.

Moreover, according to the survey talents are also keen on gaining skills, 81 percent said that they would give up an evening of leisure time per week for six months to undertake retraining. Nair explains that employers need to do a lot more to ensure that the talent is sustainable and that the workforce is sustainable.

“UAE has a huge potential to import talents and export knowledge,” Nair said. For that, he  explains it is important to define  the benefits with the employees and have a flex benefits structure that fits each individual “personalize the benefits.”

Nair explained that definitely the benefits landscape with a common narrative and taking concrete actions is key. Some of these benefits could be digital wellness, mental wellness, reward and recognition etc.

While company culture and upskilling matters, there must be shared narrative between the employers and employees, said Nair. “It’s a range of aspects, it’s  a very complex topic but we have to start somewhere,” added Nair.