Clyde & Co releases its 2015 UAE Workplace Study


Today we launched our 2015 UAE Workplace Study. This is the first workplace study completed by Clyde & Co in the UAE and, in fact, the first of its kind in the region generally. With expert commentary provided throughout, it offers a unique insight into what businesses might expect from an employment perspective in the UAE, as well as an indication of what could be considered “market practice”. In compiling the 2015 workplace study we have analysed results received from Clyde & Co’s workplace survey questionnaire administered in the Spring of 2015.

Key findings

Overall the results, in the most part, demonstrate compliance with employment regulation in the UAE. Key points to note include:

  • Contractual arrangements: Unlimited employment contracts are the most popular type of contract used in the UAE with 85% of companies opting to use unlimited contracts. Interestingly, limited contracts with a notice period are over five times more popular than limited contracts without a notice period.
  • Probation: Remarkably, 12% of respondents typically put new employees on probationary periods of greater than 6 months, which exceeds the statutory 6 month maximum probationary period under the Labour Law and the ADGM Employment Regulations.
  • Recruitment issues: The average recruitment process most commonly takes one to three months and can often take under one month. These statistics are promising as they demonstrate a quick turnaround to recruit personnel in the region.
  • Performance and training: A striking 94% of respondents use performance based appraisals and 73% of managers/supervisors regularly discuss performance with subordinates. Despite these statistics, 46% of employers indicated that there is no clear path for career progression in the organisation that employees understand.
  • Family friendly: Family friendly workplace policies are promoted by 68% of respondents, although only 57% of respondents indicated that such policies are available to all staff equally.
  • Remuneration and benefits: 94% of respondents split up basic salary and allowances which is not surprising as end of service gratuity is calculated on the basic salary excluding allowances.
  • Incentives: The provision of incentives and benefits can be a valuable recruitment and retention tool with 72% of respondents indicating that they have incentive practices that recognise high performing employees.
  • Pension and gratuity: On termination of employment, for expatriate employees, end-of-service gratuity in accordance with the applicable law is the most popular approach with 86% of respondents offering the gratuity.
  • UAE Nationals: Despite the high degree of regulation designed to promote the employment of UAE nationals in the private sector, only 13% of employers have 10% or more of their workforces made up of UAE nationals. In addition, 42% of respondents do not employ any UAE nationals, of which 16% confirmed that this was the case even though Emiratisation policy applies to them.

Rebecca Ford and Sara Khoja, partners in Clyde & Co’s MENA Employment group, said: ‘We are delighted to have completed the workplace study and anticipate that it will be a useful reference for employers operating in the UAE. Much of the information available in the market has centred on salary and benefits and our study is, we believe the first to focus on day to day personnel practices.  As well as analysing compliance with the labour laws, we are pleased that the workplace study enables us to facilitate employers gaining knowledge about practices both within and outside of their own industry.  We hope to provide the survey on an annual basis and to develop its content in line with information received on further points of interest”.

To receive a copy of the study, please email


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