PR Newswire

Rising Employee Engagement In Saudi Arabia: Decreasing Workplace Stress And Growing Job Market Optimism

WASHINGTON, June 12, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Gallup’s latest State of the Global Workplace report finds that global employee engagement stagnated and employee wellbeing declined in 2023 after multiple years of steady gains. The result is that the majority of the world’s employees continue to struggle at work and in life, with direct consequences for organizational productivity.

However, the report reveals another year of growth in the share of thriving, engaged employees in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

With a four-percentage-point increase from last year, the latest findings show that 28% of Saudi employees are engaged, outpacing the global average of 23% and well above the average of 14% in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. MENA has the second-lowest regional percentage of engaged employees.

Notably, two-thirds of female employees in the KSA are disengaged at work (68%), significantly higher than 59% of disengaged male employees. Saudi workplaces have substantial potential for enhancing workplace cultures that support both employee engagement and wellbeing.

The Role of Work in Employee Mental Health and Wellbeing

Employee engagement is a significant factor in overall life experiences. Not all mental health issues are related to work, but work is a factor in life evaluations and daily emotions. Addressing employee mental health, in part, requires support for thriving in life and engagement at work.

The MENA region has the highest regional percentage of employees feeling stress (52%), with more than half of employees experiencing it a lot the previous day, compared to 41% globally. In KSA, far fewer employees report experiencing stress in the workplace (28%), a one-percentage-point decrease from 2022. In Saudi workplaces, one in five employees (20%) experience daily sadness, below the regional rate of 26% and closer to the global average of 22%.

Gallup finds that 20% of the world’s employees report experiencing loneliness a lot the previous day. Social isolation and chronic loneliness have a devastating effect on physical and mental health but work itself decreases loneliness. In general, working adults are less lonely than the global average.

The Role of the Manager in the Wellbeing of Workers and Organizations

The world’s managers are more likely than non-managers to be engaged at work and thriving in life. Gallup’s wellbeing item measures overall life evaluation by combining present and future self-reflection.

Compared to the global rate of 34% reporting thriving in their overall lives, fewer employees in the MENA region (25%) report doing so. However, the findings in the KSA specifically saw nearly twice as many people (49%) reporting thriving, a two-percentage-point increase from 2022.

Growing Optimism Regarding the Job Market

Positive trends in employee engagement parallel growing optimism among employees regarding the country’s job market. These findings in KSA have improved by six percentage points since 2022, when 60% of survey respondents considered it was a good time to find a job. In 2023, two-thirds of employees in Saudi Arabia (66%) say it is a good time to find a job. This percentage is closer to the global average of 54% but significantly higher than regional findings of 33% in the MENA region — the lowest regional percentage of employees who say it is a good time to find a job where they live.

The global workplace has changed since 2020. The rise in hybrid work for remote-capable employees has made people management more complicated. When organizations increase the number of employees who are engaged at work, it improves a host of organizational outcomes.

Engagement also reduces employees’ intent to leave. In Saudi Arabia, 47% of employees report watching for or actively seeking a new job, matching the regional figure (48%) but below the 52% globally.

Saudi Arabia is going through a once-in-a-lifetime transformation, which has positively reflected on how employees experience workplaces and their own wellbeing. Saudi employers should build on the positive strides they’ve made in enhancing employee engagement and alleviating workplace stress,” said Alaa Alshaikh, executive director at Gallup. “There remains a considerable opportunity for improvement among organizations in Saudi to cultivate even more vibrant workplace cultures that prioritize employee engagement and wellbeing.”

About Gallup

Gallup delivers analytics and advice to help leaders and organizations solve their most pressing problems. Combining more than 80 years of experience with its global reach, Gallup knows more about the attitudes and behaviors of employees, customers, students, and citizens than any other organization in the world.

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