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 2,000 employees and jobseekers across UAE. 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.

What Do UAE Job Applicants Want in Their Dream Job?

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 76% said they would prefer a permanent position. 27% would be happy with any kind of position, while (19%) said they would like a fixed-term or temporary contract.

Finding the perfect-sized company

Respondents were asked to choose their ideal company size: small, middle or large. Preferences were split, with middle sized companies the top choice (44%) followed closely by large companies (chosen by 42% of respondents) and small companies ranked last at 9%.

Why do candidates gravitate towards middle-sized companies? Of the respondents who preferred middle-sized companies, almost half (46%) highlighted more opportunities for training and developing greater expertise. Other advantages identified by these respondents include improved promotion and career opportunities (39%), quicker decision making processes (37%) and better quality of life at work (32%).

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, nearly half (51%) were drawn to the training and development programmes these organisations are known for, while promotion opportunities and better remuneration were highlighted by 35% and 26% of these respondents, respectively.

While small companies were the least favoured option, the responses make clear that these organisations have several unique advantages. Accelerated decision-making was highlighted by 43% of the respondents who preferred small companies, while 29% were attracted more flexibility and agility than in a larger company. Almost one-third (26%) of respondents drawn to small companies liked clearer vision of strategy and results.

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 a full 73% 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 over half (61%) of respondents. Other benefits that make a difference include financial advantages (chosen by 42% of those surveyed), life insurance (38%) and company-issued tech devices (24%).

Working for a socially responsible employer

These days, candidates aren’t just looking for a salary boost and career development opportunities. Three-quarters (79%) 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, 96% chose human rights responsibility, while environmental and economic responsibility were both highlighted by 84% of respondents.

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 (66%) 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 three days at the office, two days at home, preferred by 36% of respondents. 27% prefer working from home permanently, while 21% like the idea of spending just one day working from home.

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 to feel more engaged with their job ( 67%), while 45% like to keep personal and professional environments separate. 

Office-based teams may also benefit from greater employee engagement. More than four in 10 respondents (41%) emphasised the importance of face-to-face meetings, while 28% said they want to maintain social links and enjoy relaxing moments with colleagues.

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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