Dubai: More than 73 per cent of the employees in the UAE are unhappy with work, as only 27 per cent of them expressed high satisfaction with their job in a recent survey by employment site and research firm YouGovSiraj.

The study, conducted last month, collected answers from 9,760 respondents aged between 20 and 62 in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Pakistan.

Researchers said the UAE's job satisfaction rating was "considerably low" in the region. Lebanon and Morocco fared well, posting the highest satisfaction ratings at 36 per cent and 35 per cent respectively.

Of all the nationalities polled, Gulf nationals appeared to be the least happy, with only 26 per cent enjoying a high level of satisfaction in their work.

"These figures are very telling about the current employment situation in the region, and provide an accurate picture of how not only different nationalities feel in their jobs, but how attitudes towards the working environment change between countries," said chief executive officer Rabea Ataya.

YouGovSiraj chief executive officer Nassim Ghrayeb said the survey indicates that, "despite highly favourable economic conditions, companies are not going far enough to make their employees feel like valued members of the workforce."

"This knowledge is of fundamental importance to businesses, especially in the face of increased costs of recruiting staff, compared to the actual costs of retaining them," Ghrayeb added.

The study did not specify the factors that influenced workers' satisfaction levels, but for 33-year-old Luisa who is working as a receptionist in Dubai, her low salary and her employer's failure to deliver its promise are turning her off.

"My boss promised to give me a Dh500 increase after six months, but all I got was Dh300 after one year. It increased my salary from Dh2,000 to Dh2,300, which is barely enough to cover my living expenses," says Luisa, a Mass Communications graduate.

According to recruitment specialist, while employers have been forced to increase salaries by an average of 10.7 per cent last year, this falls short of the increase in cost of living experienced by most expatriates.

The study also asked employees if they were happy with their "work organisation." Saudi Arabia fared worst in this category, with 40 per cent of the respondents saying their satisfaction with their work organisation is low.

Algeria came second with 38 per cent, followed by Kuwait and UAE with 34 per cent. In terms of motivation levels, the UAE scored lowest, with 65 per cent of employees saying they "feel motivated to perform well in the work" they do.

The UAE has 3.11 million foreign workers from 202 countries, employed by approximately 260,000 establishments, according to the 2007 labour report.

Expats make up for more than 90 per cent of the private sector labour force.

How satisfied are you with your job? Have you ever observed any discrimination at work? Why do you think employers fail to meet employee expectations in today's workplace?

Your comments

My company practices the "one month funding first." So the salary we're getting this month is actually for last month's work. And they are not yet satisfied with keeping one month salary with them, but they give the salaries late.
Posted: April 29, 2008, 11:51

If you want to be happy in your job, find an employer who promotes an equal-opportunity policy in the workplace. Second, don't take a job which is not coherent with your skills and qualifications no matter what it takes.
Posted: April 29, 2008, 11:31

The main reason for this unsatisfied employees is because there is no regulatory laws to structure the salary levels in the private sector. There should be a proper analysis of qualification/experience level of an employee under a government body to decide the minimum pay structure.
Posted: April 29, 2008, 11:31

For 4 years I?ve been working with the same company, and didn?t get a single raise or upgrading. How could I be happy with my job?
Posted: April 29, 2008, 11:30

The rise in costs, and the very high rent makes us penniless.
Posted: April 29, 2008, 11:13

many of us are not satisfied with their jobs. In my job, there is no chance to go up, even if you are qualified. There is no value of skill, experience, improved qualification or hard work, no chance to change the department or position.
Posted: April 29, 2008, 11:12

Most of the private sector companies here are from foreign lands and here to tap the economic boom. They are not looking for long term relations with employees. Same goes with employees, who come here for a short term and a quick earning life.
Posted: April 29, 2008, 10:49

Expenses will definitely get high in any of the developing countries. To cope up with the same, a relevant hike in existing salaries is a must. money is a balancing factor between personal and career growth, so I would personally hold a suggestion for all the companies in the UAE to fix a salary structure that takes care of all the living expenses, and hikes as per professional growth.
Posted: April 29, 2008, 10:38

I am working with my present employer for more than two years now and without any salary increase. I have read from the news paper that there will be a mandatory salary increase by certain percentage this year, but until now I did not get any increase on my salary. So was that implemented already in UAE?
Posted: April 29, 2008, 07:56

I have been working in the UAE for the past one-and-a-half years and I have not yet received a pay raise and the cost of living has increased many times over. Employers are not rewarding their staff financially according to the changing socio-economic factors.
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: April 29, 2008, 07:48

Even though my salary has increased, my income has decreased significantly because of inflation. I asked for a raise once, but now - after a year - I do not feel comfortable to ask again. There should be a rule to increase salaries along with inflation.
Posted: April 29, 2008, 07:45

My boss at work treats all the staff as if he owns us. He promised most of us a salary raise every year but this is the third year running and no raise so far. I tried leaving the company a few times but he refused to let us go, threatening to bring a fake case against us. I really can't wait to finish my three-year visa and get out of this company.
Posted: April 29, 2008, 04:55

.UAE-based companies are not giving good salaries to their employee?s international. That is why employees are not happy and not satisfied with their jobs and employers
Kuwait City,Kuwait
Posted: April 29, 2008, 03:30