Majority of UAE Professionals Have a Positive Outlook Towards 2021, Shows & YouGov Survey

Ola Haddad, Director of Human Resources at
Ola Haddad, Director of Human Resources at

UAE:, the Middle East’s #1 job site, has recently conducted a new survey with YouGov, global online market research company, to understand the challenges and aspirations of MENA professionals. According to the survey, 81% of professionals in the UAE have a positive outlook for the upcoming year. Only 6% felt negatively, while the remaining were neutral.

The Career Aspirations in the MENA survey uncovers aspects that revolve around career and personal aspirations, challenges to career growth, and general concerns about the future. It also tackles general perceptions and attitudes professionals in the MENA region have towards jobs and overall work environment.

What Drives the ‘Ideal Job’

The majority of UAE respondents (76%) agree that salary and benefits are one of the most important factors in an ideal job, along with opportunities for career growth (67%) and job security (33%).

The reported reasons for seeking employment in the country are marked by the desire to consistently learn and gain experience as indicated by 62% of respondents. This was followed by the goals to be financially independent (56%) and to make money (52%).

Interestingly, professionals are much more likely to prefer being an employee (55%) than owning a business (25%).

Career Ambitions

Respondents provided insights into the vision they have for the future. Many consider themselves deserving of being in a higher position (64%), and 48% are willing to move to another area of expertise to further their careers. Furthermore, over two-fifths (46%) are willing to move to a different industry altogether to achieve their goals.

Discovering how ambitious professionals are across the region was one of the survey’s main objectives. In the UAE, 76% of professionals say they have set professional goals for themselves, which include finding a new job (58%), learning new skills (47%), and earning a higher salary (43%). 

Ola Haddad, Director of Human Resources at said: “MENA professionals often face varying challenges in their respective careers. However, their ambitions and attitudes are similar in various areas. Our Career Aspirations in the MENA survey highlights that many professionals across the region either want to progress in their current roles or believe they should be working in a higher-level position.”

Motivation Levels at Work

When it came to motivation levels in the workplace, nearly two-thirds of UAE respondents (64%) reported feeling motivated at work. Only 15% reported not being motivated at work, while the remainder were neutral in response to this topic.

The prevalence of mentors and role models featured highly in the findings, with more than half reporting that they have either a mentor or role model in their careers (61%).

When asked what could boost their motivation in the workplace, more than half (58%) reported opportunities to express creativity, followed by higher salaries (53%) and better work-life balance (47%).

Personal Ambitions

The top personal goal for 2021 was reported to be saving more money, according to 68% of UAE respondents. Other prominent goals included buying property (43%), spending time with family (36%), exercising more (30%), and more travel (28%).

Zafar Shah, Research Director, Data Services at YouGov said: “The Career Aspirations study aims to better understand the challenges and aspirations of MENA professionals. It covers aspects such as perceptions and attitudes towards current job, career aspirations, barriers to career growth, overall work environment and personal aspirations and concerns.”

Data for the’s Career Aspirations in the MENA survey was collected online from 11 October to 4 November 2020. Results are based on a sample of 1790 respondents from the following countries: UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Lebanon, Jordan, Qatar, Iraq, Palestine, Syria, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Sudan, and others.

About is the leading job site in the Gulf and Middle East, connecting job seekers with employers looking to hire. Every day, thousands of new job vacancies are listed on the award-winning platform from the region’s top employers. The portal is used by over 40,000 global employers and has a database of over 39,000,000 professionals.