Study reveals a majority of the Middle East’s professionals are unhappy at work

Published: Updated:

Almost three quarters (70 percent) of professionals in the Middle East have left their job because they disliked the company culture, according to a new survey of over 700 professionals and hiring managers in various industries across the region by Robert Walters, a global recruitment consultancy.

Robert Walters Managing Director Jason Grundy defined “company culture” as “the way we do business.”

“This manifests as the values that underpin the way the business is run, impacting on the work environment, management, leadership, communications, workplace practices, and a host of other factors,” he said.

The study found that employers are already taking steps to assess whether a candidate is a good culture fit for the company, but that despite these efforts, 82 percent of professionals said that they have worked for an organization where they disliked the company culture.

The impact of a poor cultural fit was keenly felt by those surveyed, with 59 percent stating that they were demotivated to work at an organization where they did not fit with the culture. Furthermore, 46 percent said that they wanted to leave their organization as soon as possible.

These figures suggest that employers are struggling to identify if potential candidates will be a good fit for their company prior to them joining – despite 77 percent of employers stating that they do recognize the importance of finding candidates that would be a good cultural fit for their organization.

“Employers should not assume that finding someone who is a good cultural fit simply means recruiting professionals who are similar to their current staff,” said Grundy.

“Finding new candidates who are a great cultural fit does not mean sacrificing diversity, but rather finding professionals from a range of backgrounds who share the values of your organization.”

Both employers and professionals agreed that a cultural fit between them is important – at 95 and 97 percent respectively. Furthermore, the report found that it is likely in the employer’s interest to ensure that they hire candidates which will be a good cultural fit for their organization. Sixty-six percent of hiring managers stated that they believe that candidates that are a good cultural fit are less likely to leave the organization, and 79 percent also believe that they will perform better at their job.

“The majority of employers recognize that ensuring potential staff are a good cultural fit is important, given the serious impact poor cultural fit can have on productivity at work and ultimately whether or not staff will stay with the company,” added Grundy.

Grundy continued that due to the high numbers of professionals that have left their job because of issues related to company culture, employers need consider the impact of culture during the hiring process.

However, more than two-thirds of professionals feel that they were misled by their company about the culture in their induction process, despite the emphasis that employers reported putting on cultural fit when considering worker retention and career development.

The most common area that professionals reported that they had been misled on was in regards to their responsibilities and the focus of the role, at 61 percent. Robert Walters suggested that employers could alleviate this problem by giving current staff the opportunity to talk to potential new team members, which would help ensure that candidates gain direct insights into the nature of their role and the organization’s culture.

“A positive company culture can offer employers a significant advantage when looking to attract top talent, but employers face the challenge of identifying which aspects of company culture matter most to professionals,” said Grundy. “By encouraging current employees across all levels of seniority to share their thoughts about the organization’s culture, employers can gain valuable insights into which areas require their attention to attract top talent.”