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UAE Workplaces Still Most Engaged In MENA Region; Surging Confidence In The Country’s Job Market

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.

With 29% of employees engaged at work, workplaces in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) remain the most highly engaged in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, an increase of two points over last year’s Gallup report.

These rates outpace the global average of 23% and are well above the average 14% employee engagement rate in the MENA region. Notably, engagement rates are similar for employees across age groups. However, fewer employees older than 35 (56%) are not engaged, compared to 62% of not engaged employees younger than 35.

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 a lot of the previous day (52%), compared to 41% globally. Far fewer employees report experiencing stress in the UAE (33%), where the stress levels stayed the same compared to 2022. Nearly one in four employees (24%) experienced sadness a lot the previous day in the UAE, below the regional rate of 26% and close to the global average of 22%.

Gallup finds that 20% of the world’s employees experienced 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% thriving in their overall lives, fewer employees in the MENA region (25%) are thriving. However, more than twice as many people in the UAE (50%) are thriving, a one-percentage-point increase from last year.

Surging Confidence in the Job Market

A dramatic rise in optimism about the country’s job market is reflected in a 10-percentage-point increase since 2022 when 59% of survey respondents considered it was a good time to find a job. This year, more than two-thirds of employees in the UAE (69%) say it is a good time to find a job. That is significantly higher than the global average of 54%. In the MENA region, 33% of employees — the lowest regional percentage — 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 the UAE, 40% of employees report watching for or actively seeking a new job, lower than the regional figure (48%) and the even higher rate of 52% of employees globally.

“UAE companies are steadily improving workplace engagement and reducing employee negativity,” said Andrew Rzepa, leading partner in Gallup’s global analytics division in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “With UAE’s favorable job market, leaders now have a unique chance to capitalize on this momentum by enhancing 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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