In an era when talent is scarce and employers are scrambling to fill key positions, many candidates feel like they have a chance to land their dream job. But what are applicants looking for when they evaluate a role, and what can companies do to make their employer brand more attractive in this challenging market? 

To find out, Michael Page surveyed over 561 UAE National employees and jobseekers. We asked them about the kind of contracts they preferred, their commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR), their ideal work arrangements and more. Read on to discover what turns a good job into a dream job.

UAE National Candidate Pulse

Landing the right contract 

After two years of COVID disruptions, it’s no surprise that our respondents placed a high value on stability. When asked what type of contract they were willing to consider for their next position, a full 70% said they would prefer a permanent position. (23%) said they would like a temporary contract, while 24% would be happy with any kind of position.

Finding the perfect-sized company

Respondents were asked to choose their ideal company size: small, middle or large. Preferences were fairly evenly split, with middle-sized companies the top choice (chosen by 46% of respondents) followed by large companies (44%) and small companies (6%).

Why do candidates gravitate towards middle-sized companies? Of the respondents who preferred middle-sized companies, over a third (45%) highlighted more opportunities for training and developing greater expertise. Other advantages identified by these respondents include improved promotion and career opportunities (32%) and decision-making is quicker (30%).

Candidates who prefer large companies seem to be mostly motivated by the chance to accelerate their professional development and earn a better salary. Of the respondents who preferred large companies, 49% were drawn to working in a well-known or recognized company, while a clear structured vision and interesting projects were highlighted by 21% and 19% of these respondents, respectively.

While small companies were the least favoured option, the responses make clear that these organisations have several unique advantages. Quicker decision making processes was highlighted by 47% of the respondents who preferred small companies, while 28% were attracted to the quality of life at work as compared to a larger company. 21% of respondents drawn to small companies found the flexibility and agility appealing.  

Getting the benefits you need

In today’s knowledge economy, jobseekers are focused on acquiring the skills they need to succeed. No surprise, then, that close to 70% of respondents placed training and career development among their most-wanted employment benefits. This was followed by private healthcare for employees and their families — a top priority for just over half (50%) of respondents. Other benefits that make a difference include financial advantages (chosen by 39% of those surveyed), a company car (also 24%) and company-issued devices (34%).

Working for a socially responsible employer

These days, candidates aren’t just looking for a salary boost and career development opportunities. Three-quarters (78%) of survey respondents said they wanted to work for a company committed to corporate social responsibility or CSR. Asked to identify the most important CSR values, 61% chose the importance of human rights, while environmental responsibility and economic responsibility were highlighted by 56% and 50% of respondents, respectively.

Flexible work arrangements

Millions of employees found themselves working from home for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic — and our survey suggests that a majority would like to continue with this arrangement. Well over half of respondents (72%) said they would like to work remotely either some or all of the time.  

How would candidates like to divide their time between home and office? The most popular arrangement is four days at the office, one day at home, preferred by  28% of respondents. Around 27% would like to work from home at least two days per week, while just 6% would like to work from home at least four days per week.

The trend for remote working shouldn’t disguise the fact that many employees enjoy working in the office. The key motivation for these workers is the chance to socialise: 31% enjoy the kind of social links and relaxing moments that are only possible in an office environment. While 42% of respondents highlighted the advantages of having informal meetings with colleagues.

Office-based teams may also benefit from greater employee engagement. 65% said they felt more engaged with their job when working on-site. While more than four in 10 respondents (42%) emphasised the importance of face-to-face meetings.

Making dream jobs come true

If you’re determined to find your dream job, Michael Page can help. Start your search today by visiting our jobs board. And if you’re an employer looking to hire top talent in your industry and location, don’t hesitate to contact one of our expert recruiters.  

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