In general, job opportunities in the UAE have been witnessing saturation for a long time. It gives the impression that employees would not be hopping from one job to another. However, the reality is contrary to this general assumption.
A study conducted in the of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries on different aspects of human resource management in the region shed further light on this aspect. More than 300 HR-related personnel were part of the study and around 60% of the HR professionals in the UAE quoted that employee retention and talent management are the biggest challenges they are facing and they will be the particular areas of focus for the next two years.
The transient nature of employment: A factor adds to the higher attrition rate
21% of the HR employees think that retaining employees will be the biggest challenge they are going to face in the next 12 months. According to many experts, the transient nature of the job market in the region also contributes to the higher attrition levels when compared to other regions. Another study found that nearly 57% of the working professionals in the UAE are looking to switch the employees in the following year.
Let’s look into some of the underlying reasons behind low retention rates faced by the GCC and especially in the UAE.
Rude and autocratic behavior of employers
UAE is notorious for the bad behavior of employers and that is the major reason why people can’t continue with their current jobs. The problem was more prominent in the low-skilled sector where employers even confiscate the passports of their workers.
Employees with rude and autocratic supervisors constantly live under duress and can’t focus on their work, which ultimately leads to depression job burnout and eventual resignation. Since the system of the government is autocratic in nature, the work culture in the country also reflects this narritive.
The imbalance of work-life momentum
Around 80% of UAE population consists of expatriates and almost all of them are here to work. A majority of them are there without their families. Even people who have moved to this barren region with their families, because of the long work hours, they find it difficult to maintain the work-life balance.
According to a survey conducted by salary-benchmarking website about the status of work-life balance in 11 countries, Hong Kong, Singapore and the UAE are at the bottom of the table. More than 50% of employees in the UAE think that their work-life balance is in very awful condition. Many working professionals who can’t workout the this balance take extreme measures and change their employer or even move out of the country.
Failed cultural assimilation
UAE has undoubtedly become a hub of many nationals from all around the world. Emirati Nationals only comprised of 11.32% of the total of population of the UAE and all the remaining numbers belong to the people from different countries and cultures.
Even with that much population of expats, the country has forcefully imposed its cultural and religious values. The legal system of UAE is based around Islamic jurisprudence, and it is prevalently used for the construction and interpretation of the law:
Framework of the government is of medieval monarchical nature
Weekly holiday in the UAE is Friday and Sunday is supposed to be a normal working day
Nationals from other countries especially western liberal economies find it difficult to swallow and digest all those stark differences or rather clash between the cultures and therefore they ought to switch their job and leave the country for good.
Industries most affected by the issue of staff retention
The Hospitality industry
Hotel industry in the entire Middle East region is facing the challenge of recruitment and retention of the employees. According to report only 10% of the staff is looking for career opportunities with their current employees.
Most of the employees working in the hospitality industry in the UAE are from developing countries and they face very harsh working conditions.
The Construction industry
The low-skilled jobs of construction workers are mostly filled from the expats from South Asian countries. Due to roasting temperatures of the region and inhuman behavior of their employers, most of them returned to their countries as soon as their contract with the employer expires.
From the discussion of this article, it is quite evident that UAE can’t lure people with sole attraction of money for a long time. There are several other factors which matters for the welfare and hence retention of employees.