and YouGov Survey Reveals Employees in Saudi Motivated and Ambitious
December 10th, 2013, YouGov and YouGov Survey Reveals Employees in Saudi Motivated and Ambitious

48% of working respondents in KSA think they are in their ‘perfect’ job, although 65% want a promotion

Three quarters of KSA’s working population feel motivated at work, according to the recent ‘Career Aspirations’ survey conducted by, the region’s number one job site, and YouGov, a research and consulting organisation. While more than half of KSA’s respondents aspire to be promoted to a higher position, three in 10 of them are concerned about losing their job and unemployment.

The Ideal Job for KSA’s Workforce

Oil, gas and petrochemicals emerges as the preferred industry for 12% of KSA’s current and potential workforce. Construction comes second with 10%, followed by banking and finance (8%).

When defining an ideal job, the survey’s respondents consider salary and benefits (83%), opportunities for career growth (59%), and job security (34%) to be the most important factors. Half (48%) believe they currently have the perfect job, though the majority of them (65%) would like to work in a higher position, or would like to be an expert in their field (47%).

Despite the perceived level of contentment, half of the respondents claim that there are not many opportunities for career advancement within their current company. Hence, four in 10 (41%) are prepared to move to another area of expertise or department to advance their career, or to move to another industry altogether (31%).

“It’s very interesting that 47% of respondents would like to be an expert in their field,” said Suhail Masri, VP of Sales, “This latest information from our recruitment research in the MENA region solidifies our latest ventures at As a part of our commitment to empower the region’s employers and job seekers with the knowledge and tools they need to succeed in the recruitment market, earlier this year, we launched Specialties. This platform helps professionals showcase their expertise in their fields of work and interest by enabling them to ask pressing professional questions and receive answers from other specialists in a timely and organized manner. More importantly, it makes it easier than ever to build a powerful personal online brand by empowering professionals to turn their thought-leadership and intellectual curiosity into relevant content which is showcased to highly relevant audiences that have the potential to further their careers.”

When asked the reasons for accepting their current job offer, 28% claim that it was the first, or the only one that they received. Only 20% accepted because of the salary and benefits that it offered, and 16%claim it offered them a chance to work in their dream industry. Interestingly, only 17%were motivated to take the job because of its corporate reputation.

Career Motivation in KSA

Employee motivation is high in KSA, with 75% of respondents claiming to be ‘quite motivated’ or ‘highly motivated’ at work. Those working are of the opinion that motivation can be further improved by offering higher salaries, more benefits and perks (59%), followed by opportunity to express creativity and showcase skills (44%),and a promotion (42%).

Reasons given for seeking employment include to continuously learn and gain experience (73%),and the chance to be gainfully employed (60%). Feeling useful to society through employment is also important to 47%.

Seven out of 10 (72%) of those working or seeking employment have set professional goals for themselves, with 30% having goals for the next 5 years. In comparison,17% indicate they have not set any goals for themselves.

“The survey indeed shows much positivity for KSA’s economy in the years to come,” said Masri. “All the ingredients are right: employees are happy, motivated, and have for the large part set goals in place.”

When asked to identify barriers to career growth, the survey’s respondents specified poor management within their current company (43%) and a lack of growth opportunities (38%) as the top barriers. No financial support (41%) and lack of opportunity (37%) are barriers preventing respondents from obtaining their career goals.

Overall, respondents are happy with their work environment, with 43% being either ‘somewhat’ or ‘very happy’. However, some believe that the government can help improve the working environment through increased transparency in terms of salaries within companies (59%), by increasing job opportunities (53%) and by improving labour laws (56%).

Higher education is in the plans for 71%, out of whom 27% intend to attend a university in their country of residence. Five in 10 (49%) would like to retire after they turn 60, though 41% are looking to retire between 50-60 years.

For KSA respondents, the top priorities in life comprise a successful career (67%), financial stability and independence (61%). Good health (53%)also emerges as a top priority.

In general, respondents are worried about financial issues as well as losing their job and unemployment, work/life balance and familial obligations (31%). For the majority, unemployment could have significant consequences – 26% of respondents indicate they no savings from their income over the past year.

Aspirations in the MENA Region

Across the MENA region, the oil, gas and petrochemicals industry is one of the most preferred to work in. However, this is driven by more of the GCC countries and North Africa, whereas in Levant it is the education, IT and banking that share the top preference.

The most important factors for choosing an ideal job include salary and benefits (76%), followed by opportunities for career growth (51%) and work/life balance (38%). Respondents rate their current jobs average or below average on these factors, which they consider to be most important when selecting their ideal job. Less than 50% rate their current job positively on work/life balance. On the other hand, respondents rate their current jobs highly on their company’s reputation (72% state ‘good’ to ‘excellent’) and manageable workload (67% state ‘good’ to ‘excellent’).

Nevertheless, respondents’ overall opinion of their current job is positive, with 48% agreeing that their job is perfect for them, although 63% would like to be promoted to a higher level position. A further 46% aim to be experts in their field, while 35% are prepared to move to another area of expertise or department to further their career.

Survey results show that only 28%of respondents agree that there are many opportunities for career advancement with their present employer. However, a larger percentage (41%) perceive there are more opportunities within their industry. About two in five respondents agree that promotions within their company are based on a fair system, although a similar percentage also perceive otherwise.

The main reason identified by respondents for accepting their current job is that it was the only or first one they were offered (33%). This reason is primarily driven by North Africa and the Levant region.

Interestingly, the work force surveyed does not appear to lack motivation with 73% claiming to be motivated across the region. In the opinion of respondents, motivation can be improved by increasing salaries, perks and benefits (56%), the opportunity to express creativity or showcase skills (44%), and a better work/life balance (43%). Promotions, training opportunities and more challenging work emerge as other motivational factors.

The top three reasons for seeking employment include the need to learn and gain experience (72%), to be gainfully employed (58%), and to feel useful to society (53%).

At least one in four have set professional goals for themselves over the next 5 years. This is driven more by males and those in 40+ age group. Interestingly, one in four females have not set any goals for themselves. Two thirds (68%), driven primarily by the younger age group, intend to pursue higher education in the future. Online learning appears to be gaining popularity as around one in three wish to pursue further education using an online learning platform.

The desired retirement age in the MENA region is sometime after 60 for almost half of respondents, while 23% would like to retire sometime between 56-60 years.

The main barrier to personal career growth is identified as a lack of growth opportunities(39%). Other factors considered as barrier include poor management within the current company (32%), favouritism in the workplace (25%), lack of training (18%) and lack of experience (18%). In terms of attaining career goals, a lack of financial support (42%) and lack of opportunity (42%) are sited as the top barriers, followed by a lack of resources (34%).

Four in 10 (39%) respondents are happy with their current work environment, although the majority (62%) believe that their local government should increase job opportunities in order to improve the working environment.

Top priorities in life for MENA respondents are to have a successful career (64% - driven more by the younger age group), financial stability (60% - driven more by the older age group) and good health (54%). Living a stress-free life (43%) as well as spending quality time with family (29%) is more important for older respondents.

“It is quite apparent that one’s career is very important for MENA residents,” said Sundip Chahal, CEO, YouGov. “And people seem to enjoy their jobs. Companies in the MENA can try to plan better career growth routes to improve motivation at work. It’s also important to note that 44% of respondents said that they would feel more motivated if they are given more opportunities to express creativity and showcase skills.”

In their daily lives respondents are most concerned about their financial situation (52%) and job security (37%). Savings seem to be an issue for a number of respondents, as 30% claim to have put aside nothing in the last year. More in the Levant and North Africa claim to have not saved anything over the past year than those in the GCC region.

The majority (78%) of respondents would consider relocating to another country for employment purposes, with the UAE being the destination of choice across all countries surveyed.

Data for the Career Aspirations in the Middle East and North Africa survey was collected online from October 22 to November 5, 2013, with 7,445 respondents from UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.

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