Compensation and work-life balance rank highest for UAE workers

13 November 2023 Consultancy-me.com 5 min. read

In the UAE, both salary and work-life balance are important for most employees. In a survey from Boston Consulting Group, 67% of the workforce said they desire a stable job with good work-life balance and some 70% said that compensation, retirement, and insurance benefits are their top reasons for eyeing new job positions.

While some markets are seeing their economies slow down, the UAE, as with much of the Gulf region, is experiencing a boom.

Foreign professionals have flocked to the UAE to further their careers – in fact, the population of the country is some 80% or more comprised of foreigners, some of which describe themselves as expats, or highly-skilled foreign employees.

Compensation and work-life balance rank highest for UAE workers

Source: Boston Consultancy Group

Approximately 82% of workers in the UAE are approached with multiple job offers annually, which is higher than the global average of 75%. Moreover, 57% of these employees receive such offers every month. These findings suggest that the job market in the UAE is highly competitive, and employers must offer attractive incentives and working conditions to retain their skilled workforce.

As a result, the negotiating power of in-demand employees in the UAE is relatively high, said Boston Consulting Group.

Work and life

Work-life balance has become important for workforces around the world, particularly in recent years. With the emergence of new technologies and evolving work cultures, it is essential organizations develop strategies that promote a healthy work-life balance for all employees.

Work from home options have become an important part of what employees largely expect from employers, especially since the global pandemic normalized working from home and remote productivity tools like Zoom.

Compensation and work-life balance rank highest for UAE workers

Source: Boston Consultancy Group

Additionally, the report highlights that a significant proportion of job seekers in the UAE (73%) perceive themselves to be in a powerful bargaining position during the job searching process. This figure is 5% higher than the global average, indicating that employees in the UAE have high expectations from potential employers.

Interestingly, only a small fraction of workers (14%) believe that employers hold the upper hand during job negotiations. Comparatively, in the UAE, only 12% of workers felt that way. These statistics demonstrate the need for companies in the UAE to adopt competitive compensation packages and employee-friendly policies to attract and retain top talent.

Compensation and work-life balance rank highest for UAE workers

Source: Boston Consultancy Group

Based on the research findings, the healthcare and social care, digital, and public service sectors are the most desirable job areas for job seekers, while administration, corporate management, and financial services are comparatively less attractive areas. The decline in the global IT industry could explain why engineers and IT specialists receive fewer job offers.

Among the participants surveyed, teachers and IT professionals had the highest levels of confidence, while those working in administration, business management, and healthcare showed the lowest levels of self-assurance.

“It’s not easy to win over top talent. A strong offer is not enough. 41% of candidates in the UAE would refuse a good offer if they had a negative experience during recruitment. But a main deal breaker when looking for a job is still financial compensation,” said Christopher Daniel, managing director and senior partner at Boston Consulting Group.

Compensation and work-life balance rank highest for UAE workers

Source: Boston Consultancy Group

The tendency to prioritize job stability and a healthy work-life balance is a trend observed across all demographics, industries, and job types.

It is worth noting that the pandemic has further highlighted the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance, as employees are grappling with increased workloads, remote work challenges, and personal responsibilities. The Boston Consulting Group survey results indicate that job seekers are now more inclined to prioritize mental and physical well-being over other job aspects.

“People do not live to work anymore, they work to live. Therefore, employers need to ensure that corporate culture is up to the expectations of modern jobseekers,” Daniel said.

However, while employees in the UAE value job stability and work-life balance, their top priority when considering a specific job offer is the financial package. In fact, low pay and bonuses are the most significant turnoffs for job seekers. Employers must take this into account while formulating compensation packages to attract and retain skilled employees in a competitive job market.