UAE has the most fluid labour market for lawyers in the GCC, according to recent research by GulfTalent.
GulfTalent's research focused on the supply and demand for lawyers in the main countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council. The results showed that termination notice periods for lawyers in the UAE were typically capped at 1 month, compared to 3 months which was common in Saudi Arabia.
The analysis also addressed employee loyalty in the legal profession as measured by the 'switching premium' - i.e. the minimum percentage salary increase expected by employees before they would consider switching to another employer. The average switching premium in the UAE was less than 10%, indicating extreme openness to offers, bordering on dissatisfaction with current job.
In Saudi Arabia, the pattern appeared more complex, with lawyers of Saudi nationality expecting a high premium to switch employers, while for expatriate lawyers considering positions outside the Kingdom, the switching premium was actually negative, suggesting that they would consider another job offer at lower pay to their current compensation.
The research also considered career preferences of lawyers in the region. Working for a law firm was by far the most popular choice among the lawyers, with banking and finance being the second most popular career option.
The research indicated some appetite by overseas-based legal professionals for relocation into the Gulf region. This came primarily from lawyers in neighbouring Arab countries such as Jordan and Egypt, followed by US and European-educated lawyers of Middle Eastern origin wishing to return and practice their profession back in their home region, and finally a small segment of Western lawyers interested in gaining international experience.