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Middle East Edition
24th November 2022
UAE workers want benefit packages that go beyond remuneration
Workers in the UAE want benefits that go beyond salary, according to a survey by YouGov commissioned by Zurich International Life in the Middle East, which found that more than three-quarters (76%) of them switched jobs in the past year or are considering doing so in the next 12 months.  The main drivers for changing organisations include seeking a better salary package (55%), better employee benefits (44%) and professional development and skills growth (43%), the survey finds.  Sajeev Nair, Senior Executive Officer at Zurich Workplace Solutions, observed: “As companies seek to attract and, importantly, retain talent in the UAE, they must accept that this is a mature job market where talent holds many of the cards. Providing better benefits is a clear-cut way for companies to position themselves as employers of choice; yet our survey reveals that there is a mismatch in an employer’s definition of a benefit and what employees understand to be a tangible benefit. Companies need to build personalised, engaging packages centred on the benefits that talent really wants, and they need to communicate these benefits better, both to potential recruits and existing employees who may not be getting the full picture of what the employer offers. With the UAE committed to being one of the world’s great knowledge economies, the time to address future skills needs and attract top global talent is now.”
EY is sifting millions of resumes as recruitment surges
EY expects to sift through more than three million resumes this year as the firm moves to recruit around 220,000 people in the twelve months to July 2023, Trent Henry, the firm’s global vice chair for talent, has said – and that’s before a potential break-up of its auditing and consulting divisions takes effect, which could further boost a hiring drive that reached about 160,000 in the 2022 financial year, Bloomberg notes. EY is using automation to help its recruitment professionals and match candidates to job postings, Henry said. Bloomberg says the growth in recruitment underlines the continuing boom in demand for professional services, even as other industries are affected by lay-offs. “While there is a cooling off in the job market overall, accountancy has stood up pretty well,” observes Simon Wingate, managing director at job search website Reed UK. “If you look at traditional comparators like banking or legal, accountancy is by far and away the biggest in terms of job postings on our website.”
Many UAE professionals plan to make career changes next year
The majority of UAE professionals in leadership roles intend to make career changes next year, including moving jobs or retiring from work, according to a new survey.  More than half (53%) of the country’s top-level executives polled for the Bupa Global 2022 Executive Wellbeing Index confirmed that they are reassessing their priorities and are planning to either leave their current employer or reduce working hours.  “Over the next year, the ‘rethinking of priorities’ will see one of the biggest waves of resignations and changes globally and locally . . . as some of the UAE’s top executives leave their jobs, become consultants, go part-time, retire or stop working completely,” Bupa said, adding that the trend is likely to create “seismic shifts in the local labour market at the highest level.”
PwC annual seminar takes place across three Saudi cities
PwC's annual Zakat, Tax & Legal seminars, providing updates around the Zakat, tax and legal landscape, and highlighting the opportunities and challenges of doing business in Saudi Arabia, attracted over 500 leading Saudi and multinational companies in a series of sessions that took place in Riyadh, Khobar and Jeddah over two weeks. PwC's Middle East Tax & Legal Leader, Mohammed Yaghmour, said: “2022 witnessed a significant transformation for Saudi Arabia with E-invoicing becoming a government focus and transfer pricing bylaws being proposed, as well as the fund Zakat proposed regulation. ” He added: “The role of tax in technology, global tax trends, upskilling and organisational design are just some of the areas organisations need to focus on in response to these changes. Organisations need to develop the proper expertise and know-how in order to respond to tax authorities in a timely manner.”
UAE announces salary support in private and banking sectors
The UAE has announced an increase in support for salaries of citizens in both the private and banking sectors. The decision includes all employees in the sectors, regardless of the date they started work, and whether they were appointed before or after the launch of the ‘Nafes’ program on September 13th, 2021.
UN agrees global tax rules resolution
Members of the United Nations have agreed on a new resolution giving the body a mandate to kickstart intergovernmental talks on tax. The resolution was put forward by the African Group of states and will ultimately give the UN the authority “to monitor, evaluate and decide global tax rules,” according to the Tax Justice Network. Commenting on the development, Thabo Mbeki, the former president of South Africa, said: While the OECD has played an important role in these areas, it is clear after 10 years of attempts to reform international tax rules that there is no substitute for the globally inclusive and transparent forum provided by the United Nations.”
What we can learn from office suck-ups
Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Rachel Feintzeig says we can all learn from the office suck-up – who, she says, “often succeed - [and] faster than the rest of us.” Heidi Grant, a social psychologist, observes that suck-ups often have strong professional networks. “These are people who are very, very good at sending the social signals that make other people like them and trust them,” she says. “You’re wise to befriend them.”
Twitter to talk with fired Ghana staff over severance
Twitter is to hold talks with fired employees in the Ghanaian capital, Accra, the location of the social media platform’s only African office, after they were offered poorer-than-announced severance packages. Around 20 people worked in the West African country’s office. Carla Olympio, a lawyer representing the employees, said: “This is not an ordinary situation and so Twitter must obey redundancy provisions under Ghanaian law . . . You can’t compel anyone to treat people with respect but you have to obey the law.” Companies in Ghana have to notify authorities at least three months before implementing a redundancy, show they are working to mitigate any negative impact, and plan for negotiation of redundancy pay. Twitter announced it was opening its first Africa office in Ghana in a bid to "be more immersed in the rich and vibrant communities that drive the conversations taking place every day across the African continent," it said in an April 2021 statement.
Maersk settles sexual assault case
Danish shipping firm Maersk says it has resolved a litigation case against a U.S. subsidiary for sexual assault and harassment brought by a former midshipman on one of its vessels. In a statement, attorneys for both sides said they had mutually agreed that neither party would disclose details of the agreement. "The leadership of MLL (Maersk Line, Limited) has expressed the need for change. The changes that MLL has proposed are an important first step, but there is still a lot of work to be done in the maritime industry," former midshipman Hope Hicks said in the statement. "We want to be absolutely clear that the events Ms. Hicks describes are unacceptable. No matter who and where you are, those who work with us must feel safe and protected in our work environment," MLL chief executive William Woodhour said. Last year, Maersk suspended five employees as part of a probe into the alleged sexual assault on one of its ships run by the U.S.-based subsidiary. A Maersk spokesperson has said the five employees have since been fired,
Danish tax case to be heard in UK Supreme Court
The UK Supreme Court is to hear the Danish tax authority's attempt to pursue almost 80 defendants in London over alleged tax fraud, including Dubai-based hedge fund manager Sanjay Shah's Solo Capital Partners. Denmark is seeking £1.44bn in damages from 79 British defendants in one of the biggest ever UK civil litigation cases. Chris Waters, a managing partner at law firm Meaby & Co Solicitors, who is representing Shah and his companies, said it was a "significant step" that the UK Supreme Court would now hear the case. London's High Court last year ruled that the Danish state could not use English courts to enforce its tax laws - but the Court of Appeal decided the case turned on fraud and reversed the decision. "The Sanjay Shah defendants have a real prospect of successfully reinstating [the High Court's] Mr Justice Andrew Baker's decision to dismiss the entire case . . . because Denmark is trying to enforce a tax case in the UK," Waters said.
Risk to Ireland’s corporate tax take from tech slowdown
The Irish finance ministry's chief economist says the slowdown in the global tech sector presents a risk to steadily rising corporate tax receipts in Ireland next year and in particular in 2024. Corporate receipts, which are mainly paid by a small number of large multinational companies whose European headquarters are in Ireland, have grown by more than 400% in the last 10 years to account for a quarter of Ireland's entire annual tax take. John McCarthy told a parliamentary committee: "Within our numbers, we do have a slowdown in the ICT sector built in but since we did the budget (in September), I think it's fair to say the correction in the sector has maybe been a little bit stronger than we might have thought . . . There's certainly a risk to 2023, and more likely, maybe the 2024 corporate tax number, that's just on where the sectors are going." Reuters notes that foreign-owned firms in Ireland employ over 275,000 people, or one in nine workers.

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