Revealed: The strongest, most attractive and most stressful industries according to UAE residents
January 26th, 2016, YouGov

Revealed: The strongest, most attractive and most stressful industries according to UAE residents

According to UAE residents who took part in the ‘Top Industries in the Middle East and North Africa’ survey, conducted by YouGov and, the largest proportion of respondents (23%) believe the airline industry has experienced strong growth over the past year.

The government/civil service/utilities sector emerged as the industry that attracts the highest proportion of national talent according to 37% of UAE respondents. This was followed by military/defense/police/security services (26%). The poll also revealed that 69% of UAE respondents view the government as a favorable employer of choice, with 45% perceiving the government as “extremely favorable” and only 2% viewing it as “extremely unfavorable”.

Interestingly, banking and finance emerged as the industry which was the most attractive to women (32%) in the UAE, followed closely by hospitality/entertainment/ tourism (30%). Education and academia (29%), as well as healthcare/medical services/pharmaceuticals (28%) were also popular industries among women.

Industry satisfaction

Overall, a high percentage of current employees or unemployed professionals looking for a job in the UAE are generally satisfied with what their industries offer or have offered. Half are satisfied with their career growth, while 19% are “neither dissatisfied, nor satisfied” and 15% are “completely dissatisfied”. When it comes to being able to maintain a good work-life balance, over half of UAE respondents are satisfied they could (55%), with more than one in five (21%) being “completely satisfied”. Just 11% of those surveyed are “completely dissatisfied”.

A good 60% of respondents in the UAE are satisfied with their work culture. In fact, 34% of respondents are “somewhat satisfied” with their work culture, while 26% are “completely satisfied”. 65% are satisfied with their working hours, more than a third (35%) are “completely satisfied”, while a mere 10% are “completely dissatisfied”. 52% claimed they are satisfied with their job security with 13% claiming they are “completely dissatisfied” with the job security offered by their industry.

In terms of training and development, 24% of UAE respondents claim they are “completely satisfied” and 29% “somewhat satisfied” with the programs available to them. However, 30% of respective respondents are “somewhat or completely dissatisfied” with the training and development programs in their companies.

More than two out of every five UAE respondents are satisfied with their current/ most recent salary packages (42%), inclusive of non-monetary benefits, and 12% claimed they are “completely satisfied”. However, close to one in five of those surveyed are “completely dissatisfied” with their current/ most recent salary package (18%).

Most stressful industries and industries with the longest working hours

Construction emerged as the most stressful industry for 30% of UAE respondents. Banking and finance and oil, gas and petrochemicals/energy are also perceived as stressful sectors by 24% and 18% of respondents respectively. On the other hand, charity/volunteer work, internet/e-commerce, and agriculture are observed to be the most stressful industries only by 2%, 3% and 4% of respective respondents. Construction also tops the list for the longest working hours for a third of UAE respondents, followed by hospitality/entertainment/ tourism (25%).

Popular industries for those seeking employment

The most popular industry amongst resondents currently seeking employment across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is the IT/electronics/telecommunications industry (9%). Conversely, the least popular industries for job seekers are real estate, charity/volunteering work, management consulting and agriculture (all at 1%).

The UAE banking and finance sector hires the highest proportion of fresh graduates, according to 26% of the respondents. Other industries with a propensity for hiring fresh graduates include the IT/electronics/telecommunications (23%), hospitality/entertainment/tourism (19%), and government/civil service/utilities (18%) industries.

Switching industries

The study reveals that UAE residents have stayed loyal to their industry in recent months with 73% of respondents claiming they have not changed their industry in the last 2 years. However, close to half of those surveyed claim they are considering an industry change in the next few months (48%), while just under one third (31%) of the respondents claim they “don’t know/can’t say”.

Data for the ‘Top Industries in the Middle East and North Africa’ survey was conducted between November 22 and December 8, 2015 with respondents from the UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia.