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Survey shows 70% employees in the Middle East will quit jobs due to lack of flexibility

The survey also found that a considerable amount of women felt that flexibility at work improved their mental health.

[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

Work is inherently stressful, and workplaces are becoming more stressful every year. The bad news is that the workplace stress needle is moving in the wrong direction. Last year, work-related stress in the Middle East was higher than during the pandemic. 

Now, the job search platform Linkedin has found that 70% of workers in the Middle East are willing to quit jobs over a lack of flexibility. Even though most managers believe that their firms have improved working conditions, Linkedin’s report warns of a “flexidus” on the horizon. The survey found that over half of the region’s professionals are currently looking for a career break.

While businesses bolster their flexible working policies, the research shows that there is still a disconnect between what companies offer and what employees want. While almost three-quarters (74%) of professionals in the UAE and KSA think that the pandemic has exposed a need for change in flexible working, more than half (55%) say that no new flexible working policies have been introduced by their company.

“The impact of the pandemic on how we work has been transformative, and research globally is pointing to an increased urgency for greater flexibility and empowerment in the workplace. We have all seen presenteeism take a backseat in favor of quality talent and work, and we believe the new world of work carries that legacy forward, helping us create an inclusive, welcoming work experience for all professionals,” said Ali Matar, Head of LinkedIn MENA and EMEA Venture Markets, in a statement.

LinkedIn, which has introduced a “Career Break” tool to normalize flexibility at work, also found that 78% of firms were willing to hire professionals returning from a break. Linkedin collected information for the survey from the workforce in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Most professionals rated flexible timings, more annual leaves, and a four-day workweek as the most useful workplace policies.

Yet more than half of all professionals surveyed mentioned that their company had not introduced any measures for workplace flexibility. Almost 20% of the women who had taken a break due to lack of work flexibility said their career progress was being held back, and they are less likely to work for companies that don’t offer flexibility.

Speaking of the impact of flexible work, 37% of women in the Middle East said it could significantly improve their mental health.

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