Did you think investment banking was a sector where everyone was happy and content with the money they were making for themselves and their employers?
Of course, top investment bankers get the biggest paycheques, the fattest bonuses – often equivalent to many months’ salary – and they tend to hire in big numbers.
Based on assumptions, the grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence. If money could buy happiness, bankers would necessarily be the happiest lot, or so it would seem.
But pursuing a ‘happy’ career doesn’t necessarily mean that the paycheques need to get fatter by the year. “It’s very complex. Happiness is not pegged on one single thing. We are not just mercenaries after all,” said a banker in the UAE on the condition of anonymity. “Of course, a good salary helps, but just that is not enough to keep you happy,” added.
If money isn’t nearly enough to keep us happy, then what is?
According to recruitment and career experts, employees strive for more than a paycheque out of their careers. They look at contentment, work-life balance and the belief that the industry they are in fosters growth and happiness for others as well.
According to Jennifer Campori, Managing Director – Middle East and Europe, Charterhouse Partnership, jobs that have a sense of fulfilment are the ones that make people happiest.
Campori believes roles that enable a person to interact with the community should be tagged as ‘happiest’ and her picks for the UAE include healthcare, aviation and human resources.
“Roles within healthcare, aviation and human resources are some of the most content careers in the UAE. These roles all have strong people interaction and a sense of community help and awareness. The salaries and career growth vary in all of these sectors but candidates from these areas tend to be the most positive and open,” she says.
“There are difficulties with any career, but the team you work with, your own personal growth, learning and development can all make any role worthwhile. If you finish each day knowing you have given your all and that you have made a difference then that is a great positive feeling,” she told us.
Let’s take a detailed look at these sectors, and try to figure out just why they might be the happiest ones in the UAE:
This is one sector where employees tend to deal with people the most. It’s all about lives and candidates who are in the industry are warm and caring, or perhaps trained to be so.
Healthcare professionals face life-and-death situations on a daily basis. Their careers involve coping with emergencies, working extremely long hours, and shouldering heavy responsibility.
Some argue that this field may not offer a lifestyle you may envision but the thought of giving someone a new life can be the most rewarding of all.
And if plum salaries weren’t enough, this is a recession-proof sector, with demand for healthcare professionals increasing with rising population and affluence.
Figures released by Hays, a recruitment consulting firm, shows the average salary of a starting GP in the country is between Dh25,000-30,000 per month. Specialist consultant doctors get a grand salary of Dh73,000-Dh95,000 per month with profit-sharing options, whereas CEOs of large hospitals get paid an average salary of Dh100,000-Dh150,000 per month with big annual bonuses.
Pilots love their job. Most pilots are very passionate about their profession and love flying airplanes. This website spoke with two First Officers with leading carriers in the country, and they say they can’t think of doing anything else than flying.
“There are few things better in life than going to work and actually enjoying what you do. Many are scared of flying in the air, tagging it as a ‘risky job’ but I don’t agree. It’s one of the safest mode of transport and is very satisfying job and stimulating too,” said the pilot of a leading local airline company, without wishing to be named.
“If I wasn’t a pilot, I’d be running a flight simulator somewhere,” the other First Officer quipped.
If you look at salaries in the aviation sector, monetary happiness can only add to the feeling of well-being and fulfilment.
First Officers with Emirates airline can expect both cash and non-cash elements as part of their package.
The cash element for a Captain includes a monthly salary of Dh41,240 (basic salary plus hourly flying pay based on 85 block hours per month), whereas, the First Officer is estimated to take a monthly salary of Dh29,145 (basic salary plus hourly flying pay based on 85 block hours per month).
First officers at Dubai-based budget airline flydubai make approximately Dh39,500 per month plus a whole lot of other benefits.
We thought HR people were a grumpy lot (no offence), but Campori believes this is one of the most satisfying professions to be in.
A career in HR is not just about hiring and firing, though, and the responsibilities involved can vary hugely depending on the size, nature and sector of an organisation.
In this industry, you have the possibility to implement a lot of great measures to motivate and help employees. You can influence the well-being of a company by recruiting and developing the best people, create a great work environment by organising team buildings activities, help people by offering them advice or simply listening to their problems and at least trying to improve their life.
This is much more rewarding than just trying a sell a product that you don’t believe in yourself to begin with.
And salaries are reasonable, too. According to Dr. Nairouz Bader, CEO of Vision Executive Search, the average remuneration of an HR director ranges “between Dh40,000 and Dh50,000 per month plus benefits and annual bonus.”
“In terms of salaries, total packages for senior HR Directors differ vastly depending on industry and size of company ranging on average anywhere from Dh25,000 in smaller companies to Dh70,000 and more for HR department heads of large corporations,” Suhail Masri, VP of Sales at Bayt.com, recently told this website.
At the end of the day, if the folks at HR are earning fat pay-packets, it’s because they’re supposed to be managing the organisation’s most important resources, including you.
For salaries in HR read: Know your worth: Salaries of UAE’s HR executives dive