Salaries might not skyrocket this year, but for talented workers in the UAE there are good prospects for switching jobs and finding satisfaction. But first, the bad news.
According to a recent report by international recruitment consultancy Korn Ferry Hay Group, wages in the UAE will increase at the slowest rate in a decade this year. Forecasts by the group estimate average pay rises in 2017 of around three percent. Once inflation is considered, however, the wage hike will feel like 0.5 percent for the average worker in the UAE.
The bad news doesn’t end there. A separate survey conducted by specialist recruitment company PageGroup states that 70 percent of almost 3,000 regional job applicants quizzed in Q3 2016 felt oil prices would impact their employment prospects, with the severity ranging somewhere between neutral and extremely negative. It’s a sentiment shared by Vijay Gandhi, regional director for productised services at Korn Ferry Hay Group. “With oil prices averaging in the range of US$40 (Dhs147) to US$60 (Dhs220) a barrel in the past few months, this new reality is shaping the way organisations focus on costs, including reward,” he says. “Companies in the Gulf have taken a cautious view on pay increases, which are the slowest in a decade.”
Don’t worry though. There are reasons to be cheerful this year, despite the probable tightening of belts and reduced chances of a pay rise. And here comes the good news. According to a survey of CEOs conducted by accountancy firm KPMG, just under two thirds of bosses surveyed in the UAE said they’re likely to increase headcount in the next 12 months, with 90 percent expressing that they’d be increasing headcount within the next three years.
Furthermore, the PageGroup survey noted that 82 percent of GCC employees who responded believed that the job market would improve by the end of Q1 2017. In its MENA Recruiting Trends 2017 report, LinkedIn also states that 60 percent of recruitment leaders expect hiring volume to increase over the course of the year. It overwhelmingly shows that recruiting significant talent is the target of HR departments, with 81 percent declaring it as the top priority. Operations, sales and engineering roles, in particular, are in demand for 2017.
The report comes with the sub-heading “What you need to know about the state of talent acquisition”, and “talent” is a word that crops up again and again when speaking to recruiters and employment agencies in the UAE. Retaining the best staff and finding quality employees for key positions is the focus of organisations and it’s this opportunity that can be exploited by workers looking to change jobs.
Recruitment company Hays reported in December that 55 percent of employees in the GCC expect to change jobs in 2017 and that 55 percent of staff in the UAE don’t feel as though there is room for progress in their current company. Chris Greaves, managing director of Hays in the Gulf, puts the responsibility on employers to do more to attract high-calibre staff. “While it’s not easy, particularly during more challenging market conditions, organisations must review their approach to talent attraction and retention. They need to understand how their offerings compare to others in the market and identify what they can do to stand out from the crowd.”
The PageGroup survey found that 32 percent of applicants are looking for a new job to acquire a better salary. This is compared to 34 percent wanting a career change, 31 percent wanting to develop new skills and 29 percent on the quest for better work-life balance.
With salary freezes and the tightening of budgets, applicants in most fields may find themselves wooed by employers offering an impressive package, with work environment, work-life balance, career development, job security, incentives and other considerations beyond just salary. An emerging pattern, according to Greaves, is a trend towards hot-desking and working from home, as employees demand more flexibility in lieu of pay increases.
So, it’s not all bad news. Especially if you’re a talented, hard-working person who is happy to work from home.
What type of workerare you?
Forget what your progress reports say. Take this survey to see how much of a team player you are…
Your office organises a team trip to a brunch. Do you:
A) Wander through the rooms to investigate the different options before coming back to share personal recommendations for everybody.
B) Arrange seating plans, conversation topics and settle the bill before the first drinks arrive.
C) Sit yourself next to the boss and pitch your ideas about boosting productivity by removing chairs from the office.
D) Think, woot, woot! Party on the company dime time! Conga lines are still cool, right?
The boss tells you all that you need to work a weekend to achieve targets. How do you react?
A) Offer to work both days of the weekend and a couple of evenings so team members with families are not inconvenienced.
B) Calculate the additional hours each person will have to work and transportation costs, and plot potentials for future lieu days.
C) Explain that you work every weekend anyway and that’s why you top every productivity graph in the office.
D) Scream that you know your rights and set about upturning every table and chair in the entire building. Even ones that don’t belong to your company.
A new colleague started on Sunday. What was the first thing you said to them?
A) Welcome, it’s great to have you. Here’s my personal number, call it any time of day and I’ll help as best I can.
B) Inside this ring binder is a welcome pack I’ve made for you. The last 70 or so pages are not essential, but the first four folders should help you settle in.
C) Everything you see here is mine. Try and take it and I’ll end you.
D) I am the Lizard King and every time you blink my world is revealed.
Head office transfers Dhs1,000 to petty cash for social funds. Do you:
A) Realise it’s not quite enough to get everybody something so quietly top up the coffers with a few notes and some handmade cards.
B) Take the money and invest it in a low-risk stock market. Pay the dividends to each team member on their departure and keep people updated with progress in monthly and quarterly newsletters.
C) Suggest the money is used as a cash incentive and use it to reward one high-performing employee rather than distributed to the slackers.
D) Take the money for yourself and skip an afternoon’s work to rent a motorcycle and circle your office, bellowing a rap about how you’re the greatest.
On your desk at work you have:
A) A photo of the team on a team-bonding day out at a water park. You’re not in it, but you remember taking it from the sidelines as they whizzed past on an inflatable raft.
B) One back-up hard drive, one pen in each office-approved colour (red, green, blue, black), spare paper for the printer, one ruler, one stapler, back-up pen in each office colour and a plain mug.
C) Photos of you in the gym with motivational quotes scrawled over the top, a dartboard made from colleague’s ID cards and a school bell to ring every time you reach a personal goal.
D) A hunting knife, a half-chewed dog toy, the 2012 Iron Maiden wall calendar (with all Wednesdays crossed out in marker pen), two watermelons and a bicycle chain.
In five years’ time, you will be:
A) I’ve been thinking it would be nice if the team could all buy a holiday home together and work from that. Same jobs, just a change of scenery.
B) Let me just check my short-term calendar. I think I have a hair appointment and restaurant reservations that day.
C) If I haven’t bought the company within 12 months, I’m leaving to start a rival firm.
D) In Colombia, recovering from chocolate addiction and hiding from the authorities.
Ten tips for Enterpreneurs
By changing jobs you can make things look a little prettier for a while, but if you want to get something just right, you need to build it yourself. UAE business consultant Mike Hoff shares ten tips for entrepreneurs to ensure their enterprise is a success
1 Define your business purpose. Other than profit, why do you do what you do?
2 Discover and describe your core values and use them to inform your recruitment and talent management strategies.
3 Make sure you’re very clear on your businesses strengths and core competences and then use these to improve business performance.
4 Identify what your company’s weaknesses are and have a plan in place to improve them.
5 Be very clear on your business goals for the year and current quarter.
6 Focus on your top three to five priorities in the current quarter and ensure you have someone accountable to deliver each one.
7 Have meaningful metrics in place that easily and accurately show the health of the company.
8 Communicate with everyone in the organisation in a relevant and timely manner – too many meetings strangle a business.
9 Check that you have the right people in the right place doing the right things at the right time.
10 Ensure you have sufficient sources of cash (ideally internally sourced) to fuel your growth, checking your company’s cash balance daily and forecasting forward your requirements.
To find out more about Mike Hoff’s business mentoring and development services visit www.mhc.consulting or call 04 368 0997.
I am not looking for a new job
Perhaps you’re not one of the 55 percent of the Gulf’s employees looking to switch jobs this year. Well, you should be, even if you don’t actually do it. Expert advice in the Monster Gulf Career Centre says the day you start a new job should be the day you think about the next one. Far from a pessimistic approach or a lack of confidence in your own abilities, it’s a strategy that keeps skills honed, offers some industry insight and is a valid networking technique. Try perusing your next career move with the help of these websites:
How did you do?
Every office needs a people-pleaser like you. But don’t let them take advantage.
You are a natural organiser. There is not a problem you can’t solve with Excel.
Ambitious, competitive and aggressive. You’re here to make money, not friends.
The police have been called. Put down the stapler and slowly walk away from your desk