Remuneration, engagement and the GCC employee

Recent reports have drawn attention to the fact that remuneration is not the main motivator for GCC-based employees.

The Qudrat TM Research results were recently released by Aon Hewitt  and highlight that National Qataris are the most highly engaged local Nationals in the GCC, irrespective of their gender.

Regarding issues often mentioned by companies regarding the challenges of the private sector in the Gulf to attract the national workforce due to high pay in government jobs, the survey results underline  the following advantages :

“Private sector organisations enjoy higher levels of engagement and need to learn to leverage their non-monetary competitive advantages over the public sector when recruiting nationals.  In response to what is important to them at work, GCC nationals rate career growth, learning and development, and a clear HR policy above remuneration.”

Meanwhile, Bayt.com produced another survey describing higher levels of employee engagement in the region, based on a larger population sample as well as a wider geographic representation.

What is interesting though is to see some similar results from the survey regarding what makes employees feel engaged :

“44.7% of employees claim that first and foremost, more opportunities to learn and grow within the company are needed to make them feel more engaged. A better salary and benefits package comes in as a distant second with 17.1% placing it as a priority; trailing behind is a clear career path (13.7%); a good relationship with colleagues (9.1%); and a good relationship with their manager or supervisor (8.6%). Only 6.8% believe that more recognition or appreciation will increase their level of engagement at work.”

So in that survey again, we see that remuneration is not the main driver of employee engagement.

A direct consequence is that companies, especially in the private sector, should not focus their efforts only on their Compensation & Benefits programs in order to improve employee engagement.

Motivation is complex and organisations need to take a holistic approach in order to provide an environment that will encourage the discrete efforts that employees can produce and that eventually lead to better company results.

Yes, rewards, recognition and performance management are a part of the equation that can’t be ignored. And they play a role in reaching emiratisation and nationalisation targets for organisations. But the lesson from these surveys is that you must always anchor them in more complete HR and managerial approaches to the improvement of employee morale and motivation.

So try to think of how your organisation is approaching employee engagement, and please feel free to share your experience of what worked best (or didn’t) at your current or past company in the comments section !


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