Post-Covid Workplace Job Priorities: A Clear Purpose and Mental Health

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UAE nationals, ex-pats, Millennials and Gen Zs reveal their ideal workplace culture in wide-ranging survey

  • More than two-thirds (68%) of UAE nationals have considered taking a job in hospitality in the past 12 months
  • 67% of UAE residents say it is important that the company they work for has a strong sense of purpose
  • 53% of residents want to work in an organisation with strong mental health and wellbeing policies
  • Business manager, influencer, and social media creative are desired jobs
  • Job stability and social interaction also of importance to Millennials and Gen Zs

Millennials and Gen Zs in the UAE, including both UAE nationals and expats, have revealed what they want from an ideal job in a post-pandemic workplace, with a clear purpose and supportive policies on wellbeing and mental health ranking high in importance. The findings were disclosed in a new survey commissioned by Hilton (NYSE: HLT).

The survey reveals that more than two-thirds (68%) of UAE nationals have considered taking a role in hospitality during the previous 12 months. Among the benefits that a job in hospitality offers, Emiratis pointed to learning skills which are globally recognised (28%) and meeting people from all walks of life (26%) as the most desirable attributes. Working for a company with a clear sense of purpose was important to 63% of UAE national respondents, In terms of professional development, more than one-third of Emiratis said their perfect job would offer leadership training (36%) and upskilling in business management (35%).

Interestingly, over three-quarters (76%) of all respondents (UAE nationals and expats) said they had changed jobs or considered changing jobs in the past 12 months, driven by a number of reasons ranging from opportunities to earn more (39%) to a lack of professional growth opportunities (28%). When asked to identify their dream job, nearly one-third of all respondents (32%) nominated business manager, a role that can be achieved as part of a career in hospitality. Influencer was attractive to 18% of all respondents, with similar numbers for social media creative (16%).

The prospect of working in the hospitality industry, of which Hilton is a global leader, was appealing to the general population surveyed, especially after the pandemic. Of all those questioned, more than two-thirds (64%) said they had considered taking up a job in hospitality. Respondents who have considered taking up a job in hospitality said they would want an employer which values its employees (39%), has opportunities to work in different countries (28%) and champions sustainability throughout its operations (25%).

The survey also revealed a fascinating range of similarities between Millennials (aged 26-41) and Gen Zs (aged 18-25) regarding what they want from an employer. Both groups said it was very important to work for an organisation that had strong mental health and wellbeing policies in place (Gen Z 46%, Millennials 56%). Job stability (Gen Z 50%, Millennials 62%), social interaction in the workplace (Gen Z 41%, Millennials 50%), and a company with strong policies on diversity, equity and inclusion (Gen Z 36%, Millennials 44%) were also important for both age groups.

Jochem-Jan Sleiffer, President, Middle East, Africa and Türkiye, Hilton, said, “Our research shows that the pandemic has shifted how we think about work, with UAE nationals and expatriates telling us they value a company with a clear sense of purpose, a focus on sustainability, and strong wellbeing resources for its employees. We lead with culture and are fiercely committed to creating a truly diverse and meaningful work environment where individuals are empowered with the tools, technology, and culture to unleash their full potential.

We know that when we invest in our team members, our guests, owners and communities also benefit. It’s why we’re so committed to providing industry-leading benefits, from life-changing travel opportunities, to ensuring a sense of belonging for every team member – this is how we make Hilton a great place to work. We are currently recruiting for over 300 positions across our 30+ properties in the UAE, and will be planning to recruit for more than 4,500 positions as we expect to increase our hotel portfolio in the country by more than one-third. This will include countless roles ranging from engineering and F&B to event management and front desk.”

Hilton has a strong commitment to creating an inclusive workplace culture and has fostered community partnerships with local academic institutions, including the Dubai College of Tourism. Hilton recently ranked as the #4 Best Workplace in the UAE under the ‘Large Organisations’ category by Great Place to Work®.

Hilton pays particular attention to the well-being of its employees by offering attractive working conditions, competitive benefits, great recognition and support for their personal and professional development.  Hilton has rolled out a travel discount program, Go Hilton, for Team Members, their families and friends, as well as ongoing training and apprenticeship programmes, to help each Team Member achieve their career aspirations. 

Hilton has hotels in more than 122 countries and territories around the world. In the UAE, the company currently operates 33 properties, with another 14 in the pipeline.

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