Majority of Kuwait’s professionals motivated to work despite the recession, latest Bayt.com and YouGov research reveals
21% of region’s professionals highly motivated, and 65% are encouraged at work to reach a good work-life balance
The majority of professionals in Kuwait, 61%, are motivated at work, despite the current recession and its negative impact on the region’s workplaces, according to the latest study by the Middle East’s number one job site – Bayt.com – in conjunction with research specialists YouGov.
The study found that Kuwait is only slightly below the regional average of 63% of employees motivated in their work, while Lebanon and Tunisia both significantly exceed the regional average: almost three-quarters of employees, 72% in each country, said they are motivated in the work they do every day for their organisation.
The study asked respondents how important they consider their work-life balance to be, and whether such a balance is encouraged by employers: an overwhelming 73% of the respondents said that achieving a good work-life balance is very important for their levels of motivation at work. The results do not vary significantly from the average across the region – the lowest figure being 66% of respondents in Morocco, and the highest 77% in Egypt.
Asked whether their organisations support them to achieve a good-work life balance, the majority of respondents, 65%, stated that they do receive such support from their work – albeit to differing degrees. The study found that those receiving the most support are respondents in Lebanon, 76% of all those questioned, compared to 65% of professionals in Kuwait and – at the lowest end of the spectrum – 55% in Morocco. Around the rest of the Gulf, support for work-life balance is relatively consistent across the countries, reaching 70% for employees in Oman, 69% in Bahrain and 65% in Kuwait.
The Employee Motivation study was conducted to understand how the current economic climate is impacting the satisfaction levels of employees in the Middle East, and to identify the drivers that motivate them in their work.
“When it comes down to the factors that make employees content and motivated, or the factors that make them distressed and de-motivated, more often than not it is the basic, straightforward elements such as being able to achieve a good work-life balance that matter,” explains Amer Zureikat, Regional Manager, Bayt.com.
“It is extremely beneficial for organisations to focus on improving and maintaining motivation, as it is highly valued by employees, does not have direct costs attached to it and has a positive impact on productivity and returns,” says Joanna Longworth, Chief Marketing Officer, YouGov.
“While this is less a case of rocket science and more a case of common sense, it still goes neglected by some employers who favour profit making at the expense of a happy workforce. By pointing out these pain points through research such as this, it provides all employers with a general picture of what lies behind employee motivation, and serves as a reminder of how important the ‘human touch’ is for employee wellbeing and motivation”, adds Zureikat.
The drivers of motivation at work, aside from a good work-life balance, are varied, with opportunities for long term career growth topping the table in importance, as agreed by 36% of employees. Also important according to the employees surveyed are the company’s or brand’s reputation (33%), while interestingly, only 5% of respondents said that they are primarily interested in pay.
The feeling of ‘belonging’ to an organisation is often cited as an important motivational factor, and one way this is accomplished is by maintaining strong internal communication channels. While 64% of employees feel informed – to varying extents – of their company’s activities, only 20% of employees stated they always believe what is formally communicated to them by their company regarding internal plans and developments. Surprisingly, 25% of respondents said they seldom believe their company, while 8% said they never believe what they are told.
“That only a fifth of employees believe what their companies tell them and a significant percentage rarely do, is indicative that many of the region’s organisations are not trusted by the people that really matter – their employees. This is an issue that could have a major impact on their business going forward, in terms of attrition rates or even reputation; in such organisations, action is definitely needed to address this, and fast,” comments Longworth.
The study went on to ask the respondents whether they feel that the work they do in their job is significant and important to the company. The majority of respondents across the surveyed countries, 76%, strongly agreed it is important, with those in Syria, 84%, and Morocco, 83%, the most positive about the work they do and the contributions they make. Interestingly, the Gulf countries are less upbeat about the contributions they make to their workplace; 63% of respondents in the UAE and Qatar and 67% in Bahrain strongly agreed that the work they do is important, compared to a high 71% of employees in Kuwait. Clearly, the region’s employees also agree that the work they do is important to them – to varying extents. The countries with employees most positive about the work they do are Algeria and Tunisia, with 92% agreeing that their work is personally important, followed by Oman (90%) and Syria (89%), contrasted with a high 86% in Kuwait.
As part of the study, respondents were asked a series of questions relating to their satisfaction with work and their organisation, two key elements that drive employee motivation in the workplace. The majority of the region’s respondents, 79%, stated they are satisfied to varying extents with the job responsibilities they have to fulfil. The study found that 84% of respondents in Bahrain are satisfied; the highest among the surveyed countries, followed by Tunisia (83%) and Egypt (82%). In Kuwait, 78% of respondents confirmed their satisfaction vis-à-vis their job responsibilities.
When it comes to recognition and appreciation for good work, 59% of respondents said they are satisfied or very satisfied. In Kuwait, 55% of respondents said they are satisfied or very satisfied, while 29% confirmed they are dissatisfied. This sentiment prevails around the rest of the region, suggesting little is done to appreciate the hard work of employees, with 31% of employees in the UAE and 30% of employees in Bahrain and Qatar dissatisfied, followed by respondents in Kuwait, KSA and Jordan at 29% each.
Employees in the region were also largely unhappy with the opportunities for personal and professional growth within their organisations: 52% said they are satisfied to very satisfied, while 45% of respondents stated they are dissatisfied to varying extents. Only 47% of professionals in Kuwait are content with the development opportunities they are offered, with 30% dissatisfied and 20% very dissatisfied. Dissatisfaction levels are similarly high around the rest of the Gulf region – reaching 50% in Saudi Arabia, 49% in the UAE and 48% in Bahrain.
“Career growth and development is hugely important to an employee’s sense of worth and what we are seeing from these figures is that development opportunities are not generally on offer, or if they are, they are not good enough or are not geared to an employee’s needs. However, it is well known that if employers invest in their employees and encourage them to develop their skills or personality, then employees are much more likely to be committed to their work and their organisation. It is a relatively minor expense that can be addressed in an organisation, but it is one that holds weight with employees,” states Longworth.
Levels of stress at work – a significant de-motivating factor – were found to be reasonably high among the region’s employees. Almost a fifth of all respondents, 19%, said that they are under severe stress, while another 66% feel stress in some form. Countries with the most ‘stressed’ employees are Jordan and Egypt, where 90% and 88% of employees respectively are suffering some form of stress at work. In the Gulf, the UAE and Bahrain are the most stressed countries: 87% of employees in each country stated they are stressed, followed by Kuwait’s, Qatar’s and KSA’s respondents at 85% each.
Finally, the respondents were asked how they felt about their current job, and whether they were planning to stay or leave – another strong indicator of levels of motivation. An overwhelming 70% of respondents said they are either in the process of trying to leave their current job, actively looking for a new job, or willing to leave their present job – indicating that the region’s professionals believe that it’s either time to move on, or they can do much better than their current position.
“Studies such as these are hugely interesting to HR industry stakeholders and employers in the region, because they paint an up-to-date, clear picture of the region’s employment environment and the ‘Achilles heel(s)’ of the region’s employees – something especially pertinent during the current recession when employers are keen to keep their best talent on board. In addressing the findings of this data and seeing how it is relevant to their own organisations, business leaders can potentially turn around their workforces from being de-motivated, negative and a strain on the organisation – to workforces that are highly motivated, productive and profitable,” concludes Zureikat.
Data for the Employee Motivation study was collected online between the period of 3rd and 17th August 2009 with 13,376 respondents from across the UAE, KSA, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Pakistan. Males and females aged 21 years and older, of all nationalities, were included in the study.
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