Is Ramadan a better time to work on your career, search for a new job?

88% of professionals in MENA searching for jobs this Ramadan

  
Office colleagues get involved in a group discussion amidst relaxed office environment. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Office colleagues get involved in a group discussion amidst relaxed office environment. Image used for illustrative purpose.

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Most professionals in the UAE and the rest of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are ramping up their job search during the month of Ramadan, according to a new survey. 

Among the respondents polled by job site Bayt.com, about nine in ten (88 percent) said they are planning to make more time to job hunt, while many of them (69 percent) believe that more vacancies will open up during the holy month. 

The findings indicate that, while Ramadan is a time for religious devotion, many people believe it is also the perfect time to work on their career, according to Ola Haddad, director of human resources at Bayt.com. 

“Ramadan is the month of fasting and charitable giving with a focus on less fortunate communities. For MENA professionals, it is also a time to contribute meaningfully, focusing on the celebration and wellbeing of their families and communities,” Haddad said. 

“Many professionals find Ramadan a better time to work on their careers, as they feel more focused and productive.” 

Recruitment activity fell sharply last year, as the coronavirus pandemic prompted many companies to put expansion plans on hold and cut costs. However, hiring specialists in the UAE said that the employment landscape is set to improve this year, as some businesses start to recover and look to hire top talent. 

In its report, the UAE Central Bank said it expects employment to pick up this year, along with fiscal spending, oil prices and credit. The central bank also foresees real GDP growth in the UAE to recover to 2.5 percent this year and make a full recovery in 2022 on the back of “strong improvement in employment”, as well as improved business sentiment, higher fiscal spending and healthy credit growth. 

Change in work schedule 

The first day of Ramadan in UAE started last April 13. As has been practiced every holy month, work hours for employees in both private and public sectors have been reduced. 

According to Bayt.com, most companies do make special adjustments during the month and these include offering flexible working arrangements/ shorter hours (54 percent), maintaining health and safety at work (14 percent), giving more rest breaks throughout the day (2 percent) and tolerating lower productivity/ leniency with deadlines (1 percent). 

With such special measures in place, 85 percent of workers polled in the region said they are satisfied with their employer’s flexibility during the holy month. 

However, 65 percent of them said that their workload tends to increase during the period.  

“This is likely due to the fact that working hours decrease [during Ramadan],” said Bayt.com. 

A small percentage of workers (21 percent ) did say their workload stays the same, while 14 percent said they end up doing less work during the month. 

Despite the changes in workload, nearly half (40 percent) or professionals agreed that they feel more productive during Ramadan, although 49 percent said the productivity levels stay the same, while only 11 percent said they feel less productive. 

(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria) 

Cleofe.maceda@refinitiv.com 

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© ZAWYA 2021

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