• | 9:00 am

The Great Reshuffle isn’t over yet in the Middle East. Here’s what experts think is going on

Employees in the region are increasingly making decisions based on their work-life balance.

The Great Reshuffle isn’t over yet in the Middle East. Here’s what experts think is going on
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

It is not too late to realize that the old working methods no longer serve us. The journey from The Great Layoffs to The Great Resignation has hit employees and employers alike. 

It is a time of near-record-high inflation. It is the season of mass firing. It is the season to switch jobs. It is the season to stay the course.

Amidst all these, many are asking: Is the job worth it?

Employees in the region are making decisions based on their newly-discovered priorities, and improving their work-life balance is one of those priorities. 

“By doing more work from home, spending more time with my family, and using the extra time I don’t spend commuting to explore my hobbies, I’ve discovered that life is much more enjoyable when work and leisure time are balanced,” says Zoya Wasim, creative director at an Abu Dhabi-based firm. “To commute to the office, the job has to be worth it.”

According to a Microsoft survey, the workforce in the region is beginning to make new personal resolutions. 

While one-third of Middle Eastern employees seek a new job, the “worth it” equation has changed. The Great Reshuffle has only begun, after all.  

“The pandemic allowed employees to reevaluate their priorities and what they deem important. Once the shift toward work-life balance has happened, people value it more and will look for employers that encourage that balance,” explains Dan Cable, professor of organizational behavior at London Business School.


The corporate world has often undervalued the significance of developing an all-encompassing work environment that caters to employees’ demands. They have long prioritized profits and productivity over employee welfare. 

“Lack of awareness of employees’ wants and expectations is one of the main problems businesses encounter. Often, businesses make the mistake of assuming their workers’ motivations are money and job security. However, this is no longer the case, as many workers now choose jobs more meaningful and compatible with their objectives and values,” says Rahul Kalidindi, CEO at Akrivia HCM.

Experts say this is why the office culture is frequently stressful and competitive, leading to an unbalanced work life.

However, Cable says that organizations don’t usually need more money to improve the work environment. “They need to change leaders’ mindsets so that work is designed with personalized purpose and skills development in mind.” 

When jobs allow people to see the impact of their daily activities, use their unique strengths each day, and learn to try new things, experts say, it activates the part of the brain responsible for dopamine. This neurotransmitter makes us feel more alive. 

Thus, “in addition to being paid fairly, we get intrinsic rewards and feel motivated to stay and work hard,” adds Cable.


Employers should take this to heart. Although organizations may offer generous pay and benefits, they should consider other well-being elements to show they care about their employees’ growth.

First, “people should be granted the possibility to grow,” says Anastasia Denisova, CEO at Realiste MENA. 

In her 100-people team, Denisova recalls how some of them felt like they could not develop as they wished. “So, we offered them an opportunity to experiment and develop their talents.”

For instance, in her company, she says, employees can try numerous roles in one year and find the one that suits them best. “Thanks to that, our team members started growing faster and working more enthusiastically.”

“People are ready to invest their time and resources when they have a sense of mission. Most of us want to be part of something big that can, if not change the world, at least revolutionize some field,” she adds.

Jobs that are in line with employees’ beliefs and priorities are often worth it, according to experts. They want to work for a company that shares their values and has a positive company culture, work with supportive and encouraging colleagues, and t feel that their work is meaningful and has a positive impact.

According to Kalidindi, one of the most important factors influencing employee satisfaction is their compensation and benefits package. But a positive company culture can also make a big difference in employee satisfaction and retention. “Companies should foster a supportive and inclusive environment where employees feel valued and respected. Encouraging teamwork, recognition and rewards, and open communication can contribute to a positive company culture,” he says.

Apart from competitive salaries and great culture, experts say, organizations in the Middle East can make jobs “worth it” by investing in employee development, promoting work-life balance, and providing a clear path for career advancement. After all, increasing employee satisfaction and retention can contribute to long-term growth.

  Be in the Know. Subscribe to our Newsletters.



More Top Stories: