JEDDAH – New global research from Accenture, titled “Defining Success”, shows that male and female professionals in the UAE and Saudi Arabia are generally satisfied with their work-life balance and believe they can “have it all” in terms of a successful career and a full life outside of work.
Ninety-four percent of respondents from Saudi Arabia agree that they can successfully combine their work and family lives, the highest rating in the global research, followed by Indonesia (85 percent) and South Africa (84 percent). Meanwhile, three-quarters of UAE respondents believe they can “have it all”, the same figure as the United States. Seventy seven percent of Saudis and 50 percent of Emiratis also say they can “have it all but not at the same time.”
Accenture’s “study has major implications for high-performing companies in the region:
Sixty one percent of Saudis, the highest global ranking in the category, said that “social impact or making a difference” defines success in their career. China (53 percent), Indonesia (43 percent) and the UAE (37 percent) also rated “making a difference” highly.
“Today’s professionals have clearly stated what success means to them, and innovative companies will ensure they find ways to support them. The research indicates that life outside work is just as important as professional achievement, and companies that are sensitive to this trend are likely to see strong employee engagement and enjoy an advantage as they recruit and retain high performers.”
In an online survey conducted last November, Accenture 4,100 business executives from medium to large organizations in 33 countries, including UAE and Saudi Arabia, Omar Boulos, managing director, Accenture Middle East, said “managing work and personal priorities is an ongoing challenge, but according to our research, professionals in the Middle East are more likely to find the right balance and achieve what they define as success.” He added that “the task of leading companies is sustaining today’s professionals to find the right balance and help them develop, grow and thrive.”
Work-life balance defines career success for the majority of UAE- and Saudi Arabia-based professionals (70 percent UAE; 61 percent Saudi Arabia). However, financial reward was a higher priority for UAE executives (60 percent compared to 36 percent in Saudi Arabia), while twice as many professionals in the Kingdom believe making a difference in the community is a true definition of success (61 percent against 37 percent in the UAE).
The wider adoption of technology is also contributing to work-life balance, according to the findings, with 91 percent of Saudi professionals and 80 percent of UAE respondents saying that technology enables them to have a more “flexible” working schedule. These findings are consistent with China, India and Indonesia, where 94 percent, 91 percent and 90 percent of professionals, respectively, also believe technology supports a flexible schedule.
While the majority of Saudi professionals believe they can manage the responsibilities of work and home effectively, nearly three-quarters (72 percent) describe themselves as “workaholics”, the highest percentage in all of the countries surveyed. India ranks second (64 percent), followed by the Philippines (61 percent), and Indonesia and South Africa (58 percent). Just over half of UAE-based professionals also believe they are “workaholics”. – SG