MENA Workers “Actively Disengaged”

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More than one in three workers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are “actively disengaged”, reveals Gallup’s new 142-country study on the State of the Global Workplace.

MENA employee
MENA Workers “Actively Disengaged”

According to Gallup’s definition, “actively disengaged” indicates workers are unhappy and unproductive at work and liable to spread negativity to coworkers.

Gallup survey found the highest levels of active disengagement in the world in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, particularly in Tunisia (54%), Algeria (53%), and Syria (45%). The report says this could be due to region’s high unemployment rates, causing many disengaged workers to remain in their jobs despite their unhappiness at work.

Low levels of engagement among global workers continue to hinder gains in economic productivity and life quality in much of the world.

Within the MENA countries, the Gallup employee engagement study excluded non-Arab expatriate populations from the five Arab Gulf countries — Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia.

In the MENA region only 10% are engaged in their jobs, while 55% are not engaged and 35% are actively disengaged – the highest for any region in the world.

MENA workers engagement
MENA workers engagement study. Image credit-Gallup
Arab Gulf workers engagement
Arab Gulf workers engagement ranking. Image credit-Gallup

Qatar (28%) and the UAE (26%) topped the region for engaged workers, compared to the global average of 13%. According to Gallup, “Engaged employees” work with passion and feel a profound connection to their company. They drive innovation and move the organization forward.



Other key points revealed for the MENA region:

– One-third of employees in the MENA region (33%) say their employers are hiring new people
– The mismatch of MENA education system in line with the needs of the employment market. 25% OF MENA employees with a college-level education (25%) are actively disengaged – highest proportion among highly educated workers in any global region
– The prevailing concept of “wasta” (similar to the Western concept of “who you know”) is undermining workplace engagement creating poor fit for roles among improperly hired employees as well as spreading negative perceptions among otherwise engaged colleagues
– About one-third of MENA residents (34%) say they experienced anger for much of the day

Worldwide workers engagement and impact

The Unites States and Canada took the top spot for having the most engaged workers at 29%.

With only 13% of employees engaged at work, the vast majority of employed people around the globe are emotionally disconnected from their workplaces and less likely to be productive, the report said. Translated to numbers, this means that there are 900 million not engaged and 340 million actively disengaged workers around the globe.

According to Jim Clifton, Chairman and CEO of Gallup, companies with engaged employees will be the winners in the coming decades.

“Right now, the world’s GDP is US$60 trillion, and that figure will grow to US$200 trillion in the next 30 years. Simply put, the global economy will have US$140 trillion worth of new customers. Competing for those customers will be the “World Cup” for world economic dominance. The winners will enjoy thriving economies and workplaces. The losers will face unrest and revolution.

Countries that double the number of engaged employees in every company will be best positioned to win the lion’s share of the US$140 trillion in new customers.”, he said in the report.


Photo: Stephan Geyer/Flickr

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