UAE: One third of employees are not satisfied at work, finds new survey
Recent research, commissioned by the Middle East’s number one job site - Bayt.com alongside research specialists YouGovSiraj, reveals employee satisfaction in the UAE is comparably low in the region, with only 27% of workers being highly satisfied with their work. Lebanon and Morocco have the highest levels of job satisfaction at 36% and 35% respectively.
The study also finds that of all the nationalities surveyed, Gulf nationals across all countries scored the lowest in terms of job satisfaction, with only 26% enjoying a high level of satisfaction in their work.
9760 workers across the region and Pakistan responded to the survey in March 2008. Entitled the Employee Loyalty survey, it aims to understand the perceptions and attitudes of Middle Eastern employees in regards to their career, the work they do and the organisation they work for.
Saudi Arabia fares the worst in terms of work satisfaction. 40% of respondents say their satisfaction with their work organisation is low. The other Gulf countries, with the exception of Bahrain, witness comparably low levels, with Kuwait and the UAE joined at 34% and Qatar at 30%.
Around the Middle East, Algeria follows Saudi Arabia as the country with the second lowest level of satisfaction, with 38% saying they are not satisfied at work. This contrasts with Lebanon where 34% of workers were highly satisfied with their organisation.
In terms of motivation levels, the UAE scores lowest with only 65% of employees agreeing; ‘I feel motivated to perform well in the work I do’. Again, the UAE scores lowest when employees were asked; ‘I feel committed to the organisation which I currently work for,’ with 71% agreeing.
“These figures are very telling about the current employment situation in the region and provide an accurate picture of how not only different nationalities feel in their jobs, but how attitudes towards the working environment change between countries,” comments Bayt.com’s CEO, Rabea Ataya. “Understanding that employees in one market are very pessimistic about their work, while employees in a neighbouring country are largely optimistic, enables all stakeholders to reflect on the drivers of these attitudes and assess their current working practices, and understand where there is a potential need for change.”
The survey also measures loyalty to an employer. Overall where satisfaction is high, loyalty is also. Workers in Lebanon are the most committed with 73% feeling very loyal, followed by 66% of employees in Morocco. The figures drop to 54% and 56% feeling very loyal in Saudi and UAE, respectively.
Another key finding from this survey reveals employee happiness has a direct impact on loyalty and productivity, job turnover and economic growth for businesses. Of those who are satisfied with their current employers, 93% feel fully engaged in their work and 92% feel motivated to perform well.
“These interesting statistics about satisfaction with organisations in the Gulf countries perhaps point to the fact that despite highly favourable economic conditions, companies are not going far enough to make their employees feel like valued members of the workforce,” explained Nassim Ghrayeb, CEO, YouGovSiraj. “This knowledge is of fundamental importance to businesses, especially in the face of increased costs of recruiting staff, compared to the actual costs of retaining them.”
Other questions gauging attitudes towards specific elements of the working environment including good access to information for completing work, feeling valued at work and ability of organisation to attract the best talent, demonstrated that Saudi Arabia scored the lowest in five out of the seven categories; a clear indication that companies in KSA should work towards improving their working conditions.
The data was collected online between the 6th and 17th of March 2008. The total number of respondents in the survey was 9,760 and included adult males and females aged between 20 and 62 years of all nationalities, living in the UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Pakistan.
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