GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Title of Paper:
Employee Engagement and Productivity in the Arab World and Key Drivers for GCC Nationals and Expatriates: A Longitudinal Study 2010 - 2012
Paper Proposal Text :

Qudurat or ‘capacities / capabilities’ in Arabic, was a longitudinal research study dedicated to understanding what drives and motivates national and expatriate talent in the region. This research was conducted in two waves, in 2010 and again in 2012, across 7 countries (Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt). To date, this is the first and largest study of its kind seeking to enhance employability and HR practices across both private and public sector through evidence-based research.

The total n size for the study was approximately 20,500 respondents, representing over 150 organisations across a wide variety of industries and including both the public and private sector. The study design focused on fully 22 research variables, or drivers, including factors such as employee engagement, self - identity, workplace relationships and psychological strengths such as self-efficacy, resilience and preparedness. The 2010 study has a total n size of 4,600. The 2012 study has a total n size of 15,900 responses, out of which 14,292 were from the GCC, consisting of 6,790 nationals and 7,542 expatriates.

This paper will describe the research approach, share its major results and main findings, especially on the perspectives of diversity and inclusion in the Arab World. There will be particular emphasis and reference to the region’s changing educational, demographic and talent landscape, along with their impact on employability, job creation, employee engagement and productivity and other aspects of labour market outcomes.

All of these factors are of increasing interest and priority for policy-makers, organisational leaders, educational professionals and individuals across the broader MENA region and the GCC in particular. This paper offers analytical insights into the current state of the talent landscape from the largest workplace study yet conducted within the Gulf region.

Key findings:
1. GCC nationals are consistency and significantly less engaged than their expatriate counter-parts in their home countries.
2. The younger generation of nationals is significantly less engaged with their work than the older generation.
3. There has been a statistically significant decline in youth engagement (Under 25’s) from 2010 to 2012, visible across many factors of the study.
4. Surprisingly, amongst all age groups, those under the age of 25 and especially those in the 25 - 34 year age groups report the lowest level of acceptance with diversity in the workplace.
5. Those workers under the age of 34 are experiencing an “early mid-career crisis” compared with their peers elsewhere in the world.
6. Average levels of employee engagement are higher in the private sector, rather than in the public sector, despite typical earnings, along with terms and conditions being lower than in the public sector and diversity and inclusion metrics being higher.
7. GCC nationals report better relationships with their managers in the private sector, greater development opportunities and a more dynamic workplace.
8. 86.7% of GCC nationals working in the public sector believe their work is making their country or community a better place, as compared to 66.6% of nationals in the private sector.
9. Pride in their work, seems a particularly important driver for employee engagement amongst GCC nationals in the public sector.
10. Interestingly, no significant gender differences in employee engagement were reported amongst female and male public sector employers. This is distinct from results in the private sector, where women are significantly less engaged than men. This is true for both national and expatriate women.
11. GCC women are significantly more comfortable than their male counterparts in a diverse working environment than their male counterparts on all aspects of diversity measured – gender, nationality, education and age.

The paper will conclude with practical recommendations and priority actions for each of these key constituent stakeholders within the region’s dynamic talent landscape. Hardly a week passes without the announcement of a major new labour market policy and the GCC remains the laboratory of labour market reform across the broader MENA region.

Key words: GCC national, expatriate, employability, employee engagement, workplace productivity, diversity and inclusion, early mid-career crisis