Happiness and wellbeing in the Middle East and North Africa have come into focus with the turn of the new year. A new survey by Bayt.com, the number one job site in the Middle East, and YouGov, a pioneer in online market research, titled the Bayt.com ‘Happiness in the Middle East’ survey, revealed that more than half (54%) of respondents in Saudi Arabia are satisfied with their current standard of living, at least to some degree.
To determine levels of happiness in the Middle East, the survey addressed elements of respondents’ personal lives, their professional lives, their current country of residence, and other aspects of life relating to their health and wellbeing.
Respondents rated the top five most important factors that impact their general happiness levels in their country of residence. In Saudi Arabia, employment opportunities was cited by 54% of respondents as the most important factors. This was followed by leading a stable financial life (51%), general safety and security (47%), ability to maintain healthy personal relationships (38%), and low cost of living (37%).
According to the survey, personal life elements that respondents in Saudi Arabia are most satisfied with include mental wellbeing (90% of respondents are satisfied), relationship with family (83%), current physical health (79%), independence to take one’s own decisions (78%), and support received from family (66%).
Health-related factors emerged in the survey as important contributors to Saudi Arabia respondents’ happiness and wellbeing. More than three quarters (78%) of respondents describe their general state of health as good or excellent, and nearly six in ten (57%) are not currently suffering from any health issues.
As for their professional lives, factors that respondents in Saudi Arabia are most satisfied with include working hours (56% of respondents are satisfied), support from colleagues and coworkers (55%), work-life balance (55%), freedom to take decisions at work (47%), recognition at work (45%), and support from managers (43%).
Other factors that contribute to Saudi Arabia respondents’ work satisfaction revolve around stress levels, and career advancement. More than four in 10 (40%) are satisfied with the amount of stress they face at work; and nearly a third (30%) are satisfied with the availability of career advancement opportunities.
Across the MENA region, respondents are satisfied with many factors pertaining to their country of residence, including general safety and security (60% of respondents are satisfied), ability to maintain healthy personal relationships (65%), availability of utilities (62%), comfortable weather (60%), and opportunities to socialize (49%).
Other factors considered by the survey relate to social wellbeing and access to healthcare and other lifestyle amenities. In Saudi Arabia, respondents are highly satisfied with factors such as general safety and security (81%), availability of utilities (78%), ability to maintain healthy personal relationships (66%), stability of political environment (65%), and access to healthcare facilities (63%).
Stress is another element of happiness addressed by the Bayt.com survey. For respondents in Saudi Arabia, factors that contribute the most to stress levels are the increase in the cost of living (63%), work related issues (46%), demands of the family (38%), and current economic situation of the country of residence (38%). Nonetheless, nearly one third (29%) of Saudi respondents have low stress levels.
“Happiness and wellbeing is prevalent across the Mideast and North Africa, and is most likely linked to many personal, professional, and social factors,” said Suhail Masri, VP of Employer Solutions at Bayt.com.
“We, at the Middle East’s #1 Job Site, have always believed that improving happiness and wellbeing is a shared responsibility that we should live by as an organization. We have chosen to concentrate on the professional and career-related angle by persistently producing information and services that aim to address our region’s needs, especially when it comes to employment and job search. We will continue to monitor the region’s satisfaction levels and empower everyone with what they need as professionals and individuals.”
“Despite the various socio economic inconsistencies that the MENA region undergoes, it is positive to see that happiness in Egypt and across the general landscape is highly prevalent. Much of the satisfaction that is felt in the Middle East today is connected to many improvements relating to professional opportunities, standards of living, and overall development,” said Arleen Gonsalves, Assistant Research Manager at YouGov.