Workplace loyalty erodes in GCC, says poll


Interestingly, Qatar has recorded the highest number of disgruntled residents, despite the fact that country has registered the biggest salary increases over the past two years and expectations of future increases are also comparatively higher.

The survey was conducted by the UAE-based and YouGovSiraj to measure the impact of the rising cost of living on the job and career cycles in the region.

The results indicated that wages in the GCC registered a steep hike with reported average salary raises in the past 12 months registering at 15 per cent and in the past 24 months at 21 per cent. However, the cost of living was reported to have increased at an average of 24 per cent over the past 12 months substantially eroding raises and biting into standards of living.

"Loyalty in the GCC work place is eroding quickly in consequence and though a substantial portion of expatriates see themselves firmly ensconced in their countries of work and would like to settle there for the indefinite future, many employees are looking for greener pastures in terms of other companies and industries that offer more attractive benefits packages and more lucrative career prospects," according to the survey.

The survey showed a stronger than expected level of rises in wages across the region, however, these are wiped out by perceived increases in the cost of living. Reported average raises over the past 12 months were lowest in Saudi Arabia at 12 per cent and the highest in Qatar and Kuwait (17 per cent). Bahrain and the UAE registered 13 per cent and 15 per cent average raises respectively.

Average cost of living increases on the other hand were greatest in the UAE at 28 per cent with Qatar and Kuwait trailing close behind at 27 per cent and 26 per cent respectively. Bahrain and Saudi Arabia registered the least inflation with reported cost of living increases of 19 per cent and 20 per cent respectively over the past 12 months.

Looked at for a longer period, Kuwait and Qatar registered the greatest salary increases over the past 24 months with Bahrain reporting the lowest salary increase at an average of 18.95 per cent over the same period. Expectations about salary raises for the next 12 months are put at an average of 18.36 per cent for the region and Qatar appears to lead the region in terms of raise expectations at 19.92 per cent.

Expectations are significantly lower in Saudi Arabia at 15.71 per cent but still generous in the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait at 18.5 per cent, 18.67per cent and 19 per cent respectively. Expectations are highest in the market research, automotive, construction, IT and banking/finance industries and lowest in the government/civil service sector.

When asked about "deserved" raises the figures are substantially higher, with UAE and Bahrain professionals feeling the most underpaid and reporting they deserve a 33 per cent raise while professionals in Qatar and Kuwait reported deserved raises over the next 12 months of 32 per cent and 28 per cent respectively. Saudi Arabia at 27 per cent registered the lowest sense of entitlement.

Though loyalty to the current workplace is eroding among expatriates, loyalty to the region is still high. A far greater number of respondents indicated they would seek to improve their situation by moving to another country within the GCC than those indicating they would move back to their home country and by far the greatest number of respondents indicated they would react to inflation by shifting companies or industries.

At 37 per cent of polled respondents looking to leave to their home country or to another country in the GCC, Qatar recorded the highest number of disgruntled residents. The UAE with a similar cost of living increase and less in terms of raises registered the lowest number of people looking to leave to another country in the region.

The vast number of respondents indicated they would respond to the cost of living increases by moving to a higher paying industry with substantially fewer indicating they would change companies within the same industry. The willingness to switch industries was even more pronounced among professionals with a higher number of years of experience.

In the past five years most people have changed jobs at least once with the average number of jobs held ranging from two in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to 2.3 in Kuwait and 2.4 in Qatar.


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