UAE employees reassessing career options, looking for new jobs

Nearly 4 in 10 UAE workers confident about career prospects post-COVID-19

Business women brainstorming with sticky notes. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Business women brainstorming with sticky notes. Image used for illustrative purpose.

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Though millions of people worldwide are afraid of losing their jobs due to the pandemic, many in the UAE are very confident about their long-term employment outlook, according to a new study by global recruitment consultancy firm Robert Half.

However, the study also found that nearly half (43.98 percent) of UAE workers are currently reassessing their work-life balance and considering new career options, while 40 percent are actively searching for a new role.

It was earlier estimated that hundreds of thousands of expatriate employees in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region could return to their home countries as the pandemic has decimated businesses and forced employers to cut jobs.

When asked how they feel about their overall career prospects in the present compared to before the virus struck, 36 percent of people in the emirates said they are more optimistic, and only 27 percent felt less confident.

According to Oxford Economics, some of the UAE’s hardest-hit sectors, the construction, retail and hotel and restaurants, could see more than 480,000 job losses as a result of the pandemic.

However, Gareth El Mettouri, associate director of Robert Half UAE, said it’s not all doom and gloom in the job market today, citing that many employment opportunities still exist for those seeking a change in their career during the economic slowdown.

He said that government utilities, as well as businesses in IT services and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), have increased their hiring to keep up with demand, while skilled professionals who are qualified to work as software engineer or developer, finance manager, cybersecurity expert, financial planning analyst, IT manager, system accountants, CIO and CFO are all seeing “higher than usual demand.”

“Many businesses we are working with have had to scale up or speed up their digital transformation and e-commerce initiatives to meet the new customer expectations. In order to do so effectively, where they have noticed a skills gap, they have had to hire to fill these,” El Mettouri told Zawya.

“The impact of COVID-19 has created clear divisions with some industries and roles seeing a spike in demand, while others are feeling the full effects of lockdown,” he said.

Other survey findings

Robert Half’s survey also found that 50 percent of UAE employees are still working from home, while 74 percent would like to continue remote working in the future.

The research also pulled together responses from employees in European markets and, overall, it was found that 66 percent of the respondents feel their longer-term career prospects are unaffected by coronavirus, while 53 percent remain concerned about losing their current job as a result of the pandemic in the short term.

When asked about remote working, 80 percent of the respondents in the UAE and European markets said they would like the scheme to continue because it helps them save time and money by avoiding daily commute (57 percent) and, besides, they feel more productive while working from home (49 percent).

(Reporting by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)

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