Emirates airlines top the list of “ideal employer” for business students in UAE
− Deloitte: Banking in UAE fell from second-most popular industry to fourth in just one year
− Deloitte: Increasing interest in software and fast-moving consumer goods companies
− Deloitte 56 % of females in the UAE are “banking-inclined” for their careers
4 November 2014. Despite the upturn in the banking sector in the last couple of years, UAE business students now view it less favorably as a career choice, according to the newly released Deloitte Middle East survey findings “The Deloitte Talent in Banking Survey 2014, The United Arab Emirates in Focus”, which is based on Deloitte’s analysis of research undertaken by Universum, which has been researching students’ career intentions across the world since 1988.
Business students from local UAE universities, more than 90% of whom in the survey sample are expatriates, prefer airports/airlines, software companies and the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector as places to work over banking, which fell from second-most popular industry to fourth in just one year.
Three of the top five “ideal employers” for business students are airlines or airports, including Emirates at number one. Commenting on the rankings, Joe el Fadl, partner in charge of financial services in Deloitte Middle East, said: “This result is a clear reflection of the UAE’s success in becoming an international airline hub. The second most popular employer spot taken by Google, meanwhile, indicates that UAE business students are similar to their peers in other countries, as Google is among the top three “ideal employers” in 15 markets across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, mostly at number one.”
The relatively small difference in percentages between the top six most popular career sectors for business students means that banks face competition from many quarters when it comes to attracting talent. There are just five percentage points between transport and logistics at number one (which represented 14.1% of choices for “ideal employer”) and auditing and accounting in sixth place, with 8.9%. Banking took 10.2%.
Of this year’s sample survey of UAE business students, 56 % of females and 44 % of males are “banking-inclined”, meaning they put at least one bank in their top five ideal employers. This significant gender gap is in contrast to most other European, Middle Eastern, and African markets where there is a fairly equal division between men and women among banking-inclined students. In the UAE survey, however, most investment banking-inclined students are men.
Work-life balance and job security are top career goals
More than half of banking-inclined students in the UAE chose “to have work-life balance” and “to be secure or stable in my job” among their top three career goals, out of nine possibilities. “To be a leader or manager of people” was the third-most popular aspiration, chosen by 42.9 %. To give some context, job security is generally chosen mostly by students in markets with high levels of youth unemployment.
The survey also compares what banking-inclined students most want from their employer and what they most associate with banks. Plotting the two against each other offers a view of where their aspirations and expectations coincide or diverge, and can offer interesting insights to employers. The two attributes that banking-inclined students most want from their employers are “professional training and development” and “a friendly work environment”. The good news for banks in the UAE is that banking-inclined students strongly associate them with these attributes they most value, and expect them to deliver well on both. However it may be of concern to banks that banking-inclined students do not necessarily value the things that they most expect to find at banks. There is a noticeable lack of interest in “client interaction” and “high level of responsibility”, for example. Banks may also be interested to note that a competitive basic salary is of much less interest to banking-inclined students than they may imagine. It ranks just 22nd out of 40 job attributes as an aspiration.