What are the current work preferences of Gen Z in the UAE?

Over 25% of the global workforce by 2025 will be Gen Z
What are the current work preferences of Gen Z in the UAE?
Survey reveals Gen Z preferences for work arrangements in UAE

According to a recent report from the management consultancy company Oliver Wyman, Gen Z-ers in the UAE overwhelmingly prefer hybrid work (meaning the ability to work in the office on some days, and remotely on others). They are also especially motivated to advance in their careers. Understanding what makes Gen Z tick, and what incentivizes them, is important for today’s business and government leaders because they currently make up more than a quarter of the global population – and will comprise 27% of the workforce by 2025.

Key UAE findings


  • 42% of the Gen Z surveyed in the UAE have formal or informal jobs on the side, compared to 27% of the non-Gen Z respondents.
  • Gen Z in the UAE who have side hustles are primarily incentivized by a sense of connectivity and community, with 49% citing that as their main motivation to do the extra work.
  • In contrast, non-Gen Z in the UAE with side hustles indicated they are driven more by personal passion.
  • Almost 10% of Gen Z in the UAE earn money through investment income.
  • 70% of Gen Z in the UAE prefer hybrid work environments, while only 15% prefer 100% remote options.
  • Meanwhile, non-Gen Z in the UAE are 40% more likely than Gen Z to want a full return to office.
  • Gen Z employees in the UAE are 19% more likely than those in the US to be actively or passively seeking new jobs.
  • Non-Gen Z job-switchers and job seekers in the UAE were primarily motivated to search for other opportunities by better compensation first, followed by better advancement and growth opportunities, and better work-life balance. In contrast, Gen Z are more likely to leave their jobs for advancement and growth opportunities, compensation, and better benefits and perks.

Read more: UAE employees are hybrid inclined

Adel Alfalasi


Adel Alfalasi, Head of the UAE at Oliver Wyman, said: “The in-depth Oliver Wyman Forum report shows that Gen Z exhibit significantly different behaviors and motivators than even young millennials, who are only a few years older. Gen Z want transparency, personalized attention, equitable treatment, and options when it comes to how they work. The pandemic taught us that we cannot continue to work in the same way – and organizations that became more nimble and agile during the pandemic should use those same skills to adapt to Gen Z’s unique needs. This generation will drive changes that lead to a more adept private sector, but also a more agile public sector. Organizations that take this cohort seriously now will find themselves ahead in the years to come.”

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