80% of employees are miserable at work. Expert in UAE reveals why

Clifton said work is the second most time-consuming activity people are engaged in after sleep


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Mon 13 Feb 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Mon 13 Feb 2023, 2:35 PM

During a session that tackled several subjects including including work culture, gender bias and artificial intelligence, the head of advisory firm Gallup, Jon Clifton, revealed the importance of fixing the work culture.

“The workplace is killing us,” Jon Clifton said. “We are closer to colonising Mars than we are to fixing the global workplace. We found that 80% of workers have either quietly disengaged or loudly quit. They are miserable at work.”

The session which was titled ‘Data-driven Behaviour: Is it a Myth?’ also had Raja Al Mazrouei, Managing Director, Etihad Credit Insurance and Prof Arturo Bris, Director, IMD World Competitiveness Center on the panel as Noora Alabbar, director of international media engagement at Dubai Media Office moderated it.

110,000 hours

Clifton said that the one thing people spend the most time doing, other than sleep, is work. “According to one estimate, we spend 110,000 hours at work, which is equivalent to 13 straight years,” he said. “So if you are miserable, imagine what that means for the rest of your life.”

He then went on to say how leaders must prioritise creating great jobs. "If you want a silver blade to a great life, then it is a great job," he said. "so I think every leader in the world needs to make it their number one agenda on their policy to create a great job. Now, what is a great job? It is not just a solid paycheck or reliable work; it is also that you have an emotional attachment to the work."

He also thinks the greatest lie propagated is the saying find a job you love, and you'll never have to work a day in your life. "It is not true," he said. "If you are trying to change the world, do not imagine there will be a total absence of stress. One of the biggest things leaders need to work on is the drive to create great jobs. If we can fix the 110,000 hours we spend in our life, we can fix the pain in humanity."

Noora Al Abbar, quipped that when he does it, she would work for him.

No gender bias in the UAE

Raja Al Mazrouei said she felt incredibly blessed to work in the UAE. She revealed that she had been invited to a talk in the US about facing gender bias, but she could not contribute it because she had never faced it. She said the UAE has naturally created an ecosystem where women are as much a part of the workplace as men.

“I was always supported by my father to work,” she said. “And when I reached my workplace, the leaders at my organization have always supported me, even as I moved companies. I was made to understand that should I choose to change my mind, I would always have that place.”

Al Mazrouei also talked about how AI is challenging everyone. “AI is the future,” she said. “ChatGPT will create content for you. Technology is telling us to step out of our comfort zone. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is saying he wants to see how ChatGPT will help him in the government. It is creating a disruption.”


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