On March 20, the UAE celebrated the International Day of Happiness, with customs officers at Dubai airports stamping passports inscribed in red with a happy face that read “Welcome to the Happy UAE”.
The UAE’s Happiness index is first among all Arab countries, and 21st globally, according to the 2017 World Happiness Report.
But are people employed in the UAE as happy as the nation they work in?
Employed and ready to disengage
At 69%, the UAE has the highest employment rate among full-time working adults (not self-employed), but only 12% of those have full-time jobs that engage them, according to a new Gallup global job figures report, released recently.
So that’s an alarming 88% that are not engaged and possibly on the lookout for something that stimulates their minds more.
This is not a problem particular to the UAE though.
Globally, an average of 28% of adults are employed on a full-time basis, but no country has more than 13% of its adult population in great jobs, and where employees are productive.
About 1.4 billion adults worldwide report working full time for an employer.
“The workplace, globally, is going through extreme change – with the rise of AI, millennials and employees wanting a manager who is a coach more than a boss, who bases their employee experience on their strengths not their weaknesses,” said Jon Clifton, Gallup’s global managing partner.
“The UAE has an opportunity to stay ahead of the curve by further investing in workplace initiatives that put the latest developments in the world of work at the core of their strategy.”
Gallup’s 2018 Great Jobs Briefing provides an update on the real jobs situation in 128 countries and shows where the greatest gaps remain between the good and the great 9-5 (or other flexible types) monthly paying jobs that people want and need.
According to Gallup, the 12% who said they have a “great job” in the UAE, was a three-percentage-point jump from the 2016 report.
A good salary ranks high on any employee’s work happiness index. While Dubai tops all cities in the Middle East region when it comes to the amount it pays its expat workers, it failed to make the top 10 globally.
In a recent survey, conducted by HSBC, looking at expat salaries globally, Dubai ranked 11th, with expats earning an average of $138,177 per annum, more than the global average expat salary of $99,903 and ahead of cosmopolitan cities, such as Tokyo, Sydney and Singapore.
Abu Dhabi and Kuwait came 16th and 17th, with average expat salaries at $127,456 and $123,041 respectively.
Figures on good and great jobs worldwide are collected by the Gallup World Poll, a global initiative to measure the quality of people’s lives worldwide.
Started in 2005, the World Poll covers more than 99% of the world’s adult population and tracks the most important issues worldwide including employment, leadership performance and well-being.