As many as 72 per cent of companies in the UAE are looking to offer flexible work arrangements to their employees in order to attract and retain talent, revealed a new study.
Graziela Martins, vice-president for merchant business for Mena, American Express, said a flexible working arrangement could be working from home or office and flexible working hours.
"The most important thing is that the UAE companies saw the importance of it. While the average was 63 per cent for the Middle East, the UAE stood out with 72 per cent. So, it emphasises that companies here see the need to be more flexible to retain and attract top talent. However, each company may have a different strategy to retain talent. The key categories that we looked at in the survey was flexibility around work arrangement, the environment that these companies provide to their employees and also career development aspects," Martins said on the sidelines of the release of the '2018 Global Business and Spending Outlook'.
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The findings revealed that 73 per cent of companies in the Middle East anticipate an increase of six per cent in the number of employees, an increase of two per cent over their global peers.
The survey covered 870 chief financial officers and other senior finance executives in the Middle East and worldwide at companies with annual revenues of over $500 million or more in 21 countries.
Regional finance executives are also more optimistic about the growth of their economies than global peers as more than 90 per cent anticipate modest to substantial economic expansion in their country, closely aligned with the worldwide trend of 85 per cent.
Saud Swar, vice-president for commercial business and head of UAE American Express Middle East, said finance executives are less worried about economic surprises and have a well-directed view on how to drive business growth.
The UAE is among the world's top three countries which would see the highest investment growth after China and Japan, the survey revealed.
Regional companies are also more aggressive as compared to their international peers when it comes to spending and investments. Around 89 per cent of Middle Eastern firms are eyeing moderate to aggressive investment growth as compared to 85 per cent worldwide. Regional finance executives are most likely to increase spend on mobile technology, transport/logistics and travel/entertainment sectors.
By Waheed Abbas
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