Work stress is growing concern in Gulf region
Consistently working late is a reality for many Middle East employees, but a new survey by the region’s largest recruitment and career planning company, Bayt.com, sheds new light on the scale of the problem of working overtime.
Nearly half of respondents to a poll on the Bayt.com website in December 2005 admitted to not being able to stop thinking about work at weekends. More than one in 10 regularly find themselves in the office at weekends or during holidays, and only 18 per cent of the 545 people who took part in the two-week survey said they could successfully block out work after office hours.
Rabea Ataya, CEO of Bayt.com, said: “The rapidly growing regional economy places heavy demands on employees, and this can translate into longer working hours. The Gulf offers salaries and living standards that far exceed other countries, but expectations in the workplace are also high and work-related stress is a growing concern. A sensible work-life balance is the best way to maintain employee productivity and morale. Training to help staff use their time more efficiently at work is also important.”
With stress attributed to every ailment from headaches to stomach cramps, it is little wonder that many burnt-out employees in the Gulf are considering a change of career. According to a Bayt.com poll of 2,275 users in November 2005, healthcare is the number one choice for professionals looking for a
fresh challenge. IT was second on the list, attracting 14.8 per cent of the vote, and banking and oil and gas were joint third.
The oil and gas industry might not have the cachet of other professions, but jobseekers at Bayt.com certainly associate it with the best pay offers. Just under 40 per cent of the 2,801 respondents to a Bayt.com poll in November last year believed that oil and gas paid the highest salaries. Just over 20 per cent, meanwhile, thought that IT jobs offered the most lucrative packages.
Bayt’s Ataya said: “Economic growth introduces diversity into the labour market, and new sectors are challenging more traditional industries for the best talent. Information Technology has certainly witnessed major expansion as regional businesses seek greater efficiencies and work to meet international standards.”
Founded in 2000, Dubai-based Bayt.com has offices in 10 Middle East cities: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Riyadh, Jeddah, Al Khobar, Doha, Kuwait City, Amman, Islamabad.
With a database of more than one million users, mostly from around the GCC but also North America and Europe, the Bayt.com site conducts regular user and visitor polls on pressing employment and employment-related social issues.
Bayt.com is aiming to triple its current workforce of 150 by 2007 and recently launched its own career micro-site - www.bayt.com/’careers’ - to recruit new team members.