In the ever-changing world of employee benefits, several interesting trends have come to the forefront. The UAE region, known for its appeal to expats, continues to attract individuals looking for new opportunities. However, a competitive market has led to a fierce talent war, making it challenging for employers to retain their employees. In this dynamic scenario, an important realization emerges: the value of active engagement. This understanding highlights not only its importance but also uncovers a potentially significant opportunity for the growth of Employee Benefit Programs.

The UAE has maintained its appeal to expats, who now express a greater inclination to extend their stays compared to previous years (~60% of expats intend to reside in the UAE for more than a decade). This inclination toward a longer stay has consequently led to >50% of employees prioritizing long-term financial goals, particularly centred around investment objectives such as retirement planning.

The region has grown notably more demanding, giving rise to what can be described as a talent war. This situation has been intensified by the fact that more than 50% of employers in the GCC region perceive a shortage of talent, in contrast to the global average of 40%. The challenge is further compounded by a higher employee attrition rate of approximately 30%, which starkly contrasts with the global attrition rate of less than 20%.

“Offering employee benefits will have a considerable impact on a businesses operational cashflow, with the concern being that there’s no commercial gain to be had. In reality, the cost of offering these benefits often pales in comparison to the cost of replacing staff which on average is 30% of their salary. Additionally, happier staff and shown to be more productive – meaning greater output for businesses that offer them. Loyalty and productivity are two great benefits paid back to the business” Michael Watkins, Chief Executive Officer, Aurem, noted.

In the UAE alone, an estimated $100 billion is allocated to a diverse range of financial vehicles. This sizeable investment underscores the growing commitment of employers to enhance their employees’ financial well-being. Tech disruptors like StashAway and Aurem are at the forefront of supporting this evolving ecosystem. These innovative players are leveraging technology to reshape the landscape of employee benefits, offering new avenues for employees to manage and optimize their financial plans.


  • Sandeep is the Partner of Redseer Strategy Consultants looking at the Middle East and Africa. He has 13+ years of experience in consulting and technology.