Gen Z In The UAE — Hybrid Work And Side Hustles

Oliver Wyman analysis: Gen Z in the UAE prefer hybrid work over fully remote options, while almost half have side hustles

UAE, May 24, 2023 – A recent report from the Oliver Wyman Forum – the think tank of strategic management consultancy Oliver Wyman – analyzes what makes Gen Z tick, and as part of its ongoing analysis it has discovered that 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.

The report focused on the age 18 to 25 cohort, and key UAE findings include:

Side hustles

  • 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.

Return to office

  • 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.

Retention and job satisfaction

  • 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.

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.”

The Oliver Wyman Forum report examines how this generation view the world, and how they will change it. It involved two years of extensive research. You can read the global report here.

Ana Kreacic, Partner and Chief Knowledge Officer at Oliver Wyman and Chief Operating Officer of the Oliver Wyman Forum, said: “At over a quarter of the global population, Gen Z is set to become the world’s highest-paid spending power and to create large shifts across the public and private sectors in the next decade. Our understanding of their values, needs, and behaviors, and their potential impact is nowhere near where it needs to be. This research will help shape future discussions for more inclusive outcomes and goals while identifying opportunities and risks for business and society.”