GNcareers, from Gulf News

For today's business grads, loyalty is thing of past

For today's business grads, loyalty is thing of pastImage Credit: Supplied

It's not just the size of the salary, the perks or how fast one can go up the organizational ladder. Unlike no other time in recent history, more business graduates want to believe what they do at the workplace is 'relevant' and truly matters to the wider society and not just to themselves or the company.

Loyalty to an organisation is now measured in two or three years and not a decade or more. In starker terms, it means less a sentiment of 'what's in it for me?'. And if they find that what they do does not measure up to expectations, they would rather up and leave rather than keep plodding on their current job.

With mobility comes lesser loyalty to the firm. ''Such attitudes among the young entering the workforce are not specific to a culture — it's a global thing,'' said Ian Gomes, Head of Advisory at KPMG UAE, which has brought out a survey conducted among business students from 27 countries. ''Graduates want to see that the organisations they join match their own thinking.

''While it may be limited — at least for the time being — in this part of the world, they will no hesitation in packing up if they find the work and environment does not match up. Today's talent is very mobile and they are willing to shift countries in search of work satisfaction. That will happen in the Gulf, and available new talent can get scarce.

''It's no longer solely about companies picking the best talent out there.'' (Specific to the UAE, workplace issues of the immediate future would include ways and means to attract more talented nationals, as well as address gender diversity.) The wanderlust has become more pronounced in the generation that is finishing school in the post global financial crisis (GFC) years. In the survey, 77 per cent said they are not likely to stay on with the same company for their entire career, and 78 per cent want to work in three or four countries during their careers.

But the GFC experience, while shaping their thinking, also underscores some of their concerns. A high 60 per cent of respondents worry about another financial crisis happening while they are in the workforce, and 46 per cent reckon economic instability will make it harder for them to land a job.

''But even with those concerns, they are not prepared to sell themselves short — they will still want to join organizations that they believe will articulate similar agendas,'' said Gomes. ''These graduates stand for certain principles or causes and unlikely to change their principles for job security.''

As talent on call becomes a scarce commodity — and pricier too — organisations that ''can genuinely offer multiple careers in many different countries has an opportunity to differentiate itself,'' according to Rachel Campbell, Global Head of People, KPMG International. ''This makes it very important that business offers mobility as well as a variety of career paths.''

And businesses cannot make do without getting the right people in. ''The life expectancy of a company in the Fortune 500 rankings was about 40 years — in the latest ones, half of them were not there before 1999,'' said Gomes. ''Businesses — it applies just as much to those outside of Fortune 500 — need to anticipate how they can stay ahead of the curve. There's so much change happening all around — businesses have to find ways to get people into their workforce to help them keep pace.''

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Source: Manoj Nair, Associate Editor,