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Tue 27 Mar 2012 06:29 PM

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UAE sees rise of 'counter offer' culture - HR firm

Companies make more effort to keep their best performing staff, says Robert Half UAE

UAE sees rise of 'counter offer' culture - HR firm
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

With more than 70 percent of senior HR executives in Dubai expressing concern over losing top performers in 2012, many employers have increased their use of counter offers, new research from Robert Half UAE has found.

Nearly four in 10 said that it has become more common for their organisation to issue counter offers to employees tempted by other jobs.

The figures suggest that with increased hiring activity from competing organisations, companies are increasingly ardent about keeping high performance professionals on board.

The survey questioned 75 Dubai-based senior human resources executives about their hiring plans for the first half of 2012.

Despite the rising prevalence of counter offers, only 39 percent of employers said it was at least somewhat common for employees to accept a counteroffer.

"This suggests that additional remuneration is only  part of the reason employees leave for other opportunities," the survey said.

Nearly one in four (23 percent) said that they would not make counter offers because employees would end up leaving the business in any case.

James Sayer, associate director, Robert Half UAE, said: "Our research shows that there is buoyant hiring activity through the first half of 2012 and companies are starting to realise that they need to recognise their top performers or risk losing them to other organisations.

"While some companies may be tempted to provide counter offers, this often only works as a temporary solution, with the employee leaving shortly thereafter. In order to keep their best employees, companies need to ensure that they are paying competitively with an appropriate salary and bonus structure."

Sayer added: "Top performers who feel they've made concessions during the recession will expect to be rewarded for their loyalty.

"It is therefore essential for all companies to have a comprehensive remuneration programme where they conduct regular salary reviews with all employees, even if increases are modest or deferred."

Last week, Sayer said employers in Abu Dhabi and Qatar offer as much as 30 percent more money than their counterparts in Dubai to attract candidates because of the cost of living.

He said Dubai was still the most popular destination for people wanting to work in the Gulf region.

In comments published by Bloomberg, he said Abu Dhabi and Qatar were being forced to offer more to tempt them away from Dubai where living costs had fallen in comparison.

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aaa 8 years ago

Non sense. This kind culture only exists in some MNC's. The private sector is still about the same. If you were to go to your boss/HR with a offer from a different company, 98% of the time it would end up with you facing a labor case/ non payment of your salaries or even losing the offer you just got.

The ground reality is tottaly different here in the GCC from what is being said.

Chris 8 years ago

The UAE is moving to a dumb down work place. Companies are worried about non replacement as they are unable to recruit based on current salary levels. As a senior HR person who has been unable to find a role other than at a substantial discount to value in this area, I am constantly being told that companies wish to reduce salaries and are doing this by exiting western staff and recruiting people from other cultures who will work for less. In many cases it is about occupying a seat. Companies are now tending to recruit younger people with less experience who will be at a desk for very long hours and produce little. It is cyclical and when companies realise that there is a problem, then older western employees will be invited back again.

expat saffa 8 years ago


I have notice the trend reversal happening already.

Local companies and even companies founded in India are starting to ask for Western workers as a preference.

It is strange how things happen in cycles.

All the best