The Bayt.com Career Aspirations in the Middle East and North Africa survey, recently conducted by Bayt.com, the region’s number one job site, and YouGov, a research and consulting organization, has revealed that the most preferred industry to work in, according to MENA respondents, is oil, gas and petrochemicals – a sentiment that is echoed by UAE respondents.
2015 Personal and Career Aspirations in the UAE
The survey showed that around seven in 10 respondents in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have set professional goals for themselves, with 26 percent having long-term ambitions to achieve in the next 5 years. The most common goals are to get a higher salary (54 percent), to get a new job (53 percent), and to learn new skills (52 percent). In the UAE, 76 percent of respondents have set professional goals they want to achieve, the top three of which echo those of the region.
In terms of personal goals for 2015, 78 percent of UAE respondents want to save more money, 38 percent want to buy property, and 37 percent want to spend more time with family. Eight in 10 (86 percent) UAE respondents feel positive about the year 2015.
In the MENA, the top personal goal for 2015 was reported to be saving more money, with nearly three-quarters of respondents (72 percent) reporting so. Other goals included travel (37 percent), buying property (33 percent) and spending more time with family (30 percent). Respondents in the MENA were very positive about what 2015 has to bring, with four in five respondents (82 percent) reporting a positive outlook towards the upcoming year. Slightly more respondents in the GCC (84 percent) were positive about 2015, compared to Levant (72 percent) and North Africa (77 percent).
Financial issues are the top worry for 51 percent of MENA respondents, as well as for 60 percent of UAE respondents. In the UAE, this is followed by career path uncertainty (40 percent), and worry about unemployment or losing their job (31 percent). The ideal retirement age for UAE respondents is considered to be after 60 (32 percent), which is in line with the thinking of 43 percent of MENA respondents.
“The sentiments for the year ahead are very positive,” said Suhail Masri, VP of Sales, Bayt.com.
“Different projects around the Middle East region are generating more opportunities, especially in the GCC. These projects are however, driving up costs, making respondents more anxious about savings and salaries. Employers must take this into consideration going forward, both with current employees and future hires. At Bayt.com, our mission is to empower people to lead better lives, and this information is vital for employers and job seekers in the region alike; it helps them plan for their personal and career goals and make informed and empowered work and life decisions.”
Career Overview of UAE Professionals
Four in 10 (42 percent) respondents across the MENA region would rather be an employee than an entrepreneur – though 39 percent would like to have their own business. In the UAE, those percentages are 49 percent who would prefer to be an employee vs 29 percent who would rather have their own business. The preferred industry to work in, according to UAE respondents, is oil, gas and petrochemicals, a sentiment that is echoed by MENA respondents. The top three factors that are most important to UAE respondents when selecting their ideal job are salary and benefits (86 percent), opportunities for career growth (72 percent), and job security (37 percent).
61 percent of UAE respondents feel they deserve to work in a high level position, while 50 percent are prepared to move to another area of expertise or department to further their career, and 45 percent are prepared to move to another industry as a next step in their career. Two-fifths of UAE respondents (43 percent) consider that their current job is the perfect one for them, and 55 percent are satisfied with their professional growth over the past year. 27 percent of UAE respondents claim to have a mentor, while 34 percent have a role model – yet 43 percent claim to have neither.
The majority of respondents (56 percent) in the MENA rate their current job highly as a reputable organisation (56 percent rated their job ‘good’ or ‘excellent’). Over two-fifths rate their current job positively in terms of their manageable workload (45 percent), and the set number of working hours (45 percent). They are least satisfied with salary and benefits (32 percent rated their current job as either ‘good’ or ‘excellent’), fair evaluation (27 percent), and opportunities for career growth (25 percent). The majority (64 percent) feel they deserve to work in a higher level position, while almost half (48 percent) are prepared to move to another area of expertise or department, and four in 10 (43 percent) are prepared to move to another industry.
Work Environment in the UAE
Most UAE respondents (56 percent) claim to be motivated at work. Higher salary and more perks and benefits (62 percent) is the top factor that would make UAE respondents feel more motivated at work. Other factors like the opportunity to express their creativity and showcase their skills (49 percent) and a better work-life balance (46 percent) are also among the best ways to increase the motivation of UAE employees.
The biggest barriers to professional growth in the UAE are considered to be the lack of growth opportunities (47 percent), poor management within the company (45 percent), and favouritism within the workplace (26 percent). Top reasons for seeking employment among UAE respondents include to consistently learn and gain experience (70 percent), to make money and/or be gainfully employed (59 percent), and to be financially independent (50 percent). And yet in the UAE, 54 percent of people claim to be able to save less than 10 percent of their salary – 27 percent are not able to save anything.
Silviu Matei, Director, YouGov, said: “An interesting point to note is that for many respondents in the UAE, expressing creativity and showcasing skills is important, as well as learning and gaining experience. Employers can benefit from focusing on these two things with their employees to increase work motivation.”
Overall, 37 percent of UAE respondents are happy with their current work environment, though 61 percent would be happy to relocate to another country for employment purposes. Canada is the most popular destination for UAE respondents who would consider relocating for employment purposes, while the UAE is a top choice for 28 percent of MENA respondents.
Data for the Bayt.com Career Aspirations in the Middle East and North Africa survey was collected online from December 3-10 2014, with 8,963 respondents from the UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.