Press release:
Salary only the third most significant factor influencing employee turnover in the Gulf region

  • Salary ranks as only the third most important reason why working professionals in the Gulf would consider moving employer
  • Career development opportunities are of growing importance, particularly amongst the younger workforce
  • Employers must address career development offerings as a key aspect to their attraction and retention strategies


The single biggest factor influencing employee turnover in the Gulf region is not salaries, according to Hays Employee Attrition in the GCC Report 2019, released today by the recruiting experts.

Instead, the top two reasons that working professionals in the Gulf region look to move employer are ‘to start a new career’ and ‘lack of future opportunities’.

“These findings certainly reinforce what candidates are telling us when we assist them with their job search”, says Chris Greaves, Managing Director of Hays Middle East.

“While salary is important, how an employee performs and how long they choose to stay with an employer is hugely influenced by the career development opportunities offered to them.”

This is not least true for the younger working age population, Generation Z (born after 1995). The report found that, unlike their older contemporaries, ‘job security’ is not even a consideration when deciding on career and employment. Instead, developmental opportunities are by far the most significant influencer.

“Career opportunities are becoming the overriding focus for professionals in the region and this is only likely to grow in importance as the younger generations of today become the core workforce of tomorrow,” says Greaves.

When examining the average length of time workers typically stay with an employer in the region, the report found that the greatest proportion, nearly 40%, like to stay more than five years.

“These are incredibly interesting insights for employers to see as there is often widespread belief that high employee turnover is inevitable in the region as expat workers leave to return to their home countries after only a short period of time here.

In reality however, this research shows that longevity of employment is incredibly important to both national and expat workers and that employee turnover is entirely in the hands of the employer and the prospects they offer,” says Greaves.

Advice to employers

Of those 600 professionals who took part in the research, 33% have no regular appraisal and 66% received no role-specific training in the past 12 months.

“These statistics are alarming. They suggest that a large number of organisations in the region offer no role-enhancing training or any form of performance feedback to their staff and it is therefore no wonder that employees rate career development so highly when considering new employment opportunities,” says Greaves.

“It is clear from these statistics and from speaking with key talent in the region that companies must better address their career development offerings as a major aspect to their attraction and retention strategies,”

“To attract the very best workers and employ the very best teams, organisations must offer workers what they want through on the job training, upskilling and more varied work. Get it right and this will no doubt give organisations the competitive edge in terms of performance in their respective industries,” adds Greaves.

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About the report

The Hays Employee Attrition in the GCC Report 2019, has been compiled from a survey of over 600 working professionals based in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which took place during July and August 2019. Its purpose is to examine the key factors driving employee turnover in the Gulf region. To receive your free copy, click here.

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