Results from the recently concluded Consumer Confidence Index survey conducted jointly by Bayt.com, a Middle Eastern job site, and research and consulting organisation YouGov, shows that residents in the UAE hold an optimistic view of their personal financial future, as well as of the country’s economy.

However, a majority of surveyed employees feel that the current remuneration is not in line with the cost of living, with only 17% believing that now is a good time to buy consumer durables.

According to the Bayt.com quarterly MENA Consumer Confidence Index survey, expectations for the future are primarily positive amongst respondents from the UAE, with 49% believing that their financial position will improve in a year’s time, which is a reflection of sentiment from across the Middle East region.

In correlation with this, 51% of respondents expect that the UAE’s economy will take a turn for the better within the same time period, with a majority also believing that this will bring around better business conditions. Though, according to some, this won’t necessarily mean an increase in the number of jobs, as a majority (51%) of respondents think there will be either no change or fewer jobs than at present, and only 34% of respondents hold the opinion that there will be more jobs available

Going hand-in-hand with the above survey statistic, are the neutral sentiments expressed by a majority of the respondents (38%) towards the likelihood of increase in their organisation’s employee-count in the coming quarter. Only a quarter of respondents (25%) think there will be a positive growth, though this is almost equalled by 23% sharing a pessimistic outlook on the same. The percentages are very similar in terms of their company meeting staffing requirements in the coming three months – the majority are neutral (a trend that is echoed across the region), with 20% optimistic and 26% pessimistic.

“The overall feeling is that while the coming year will be favourable for business and corporations, this may not necessarily reflect on employees’ benefits,” explained Amer Zureikat, VP Sales at Bayt.com. “At Bayt.com, we work towards creating a solid platform of statistics and a valuable insight to share with employees and employers alike.”

With regards the respondents’ present situation, the general feeling across the region is that the financial situation for them and their family is no different than it was within the previous year. In the UAE, only 25% have had an improved financial position in comparison to the previous year, while 38% have experienced no change, and the financial situation is worse for 30% of survey-takers. The overwhelming majority state that in comparison to last year, their salary has not kept pace with the cost of living in the UAE.

This reflects on the current attitude towards purchasing of consumer durable goods, with only 17% of UAE respondents feeling that this is a positive time to buy. The majority, at 47%, believe that this is a neutral time to make large purchase, with most opting to shy away from investments in property and purchasing new cars in the next 12 months. Among those who are looking to purchase vehicles, 49% say they will invest in a new car, while 45% will choose a used car. As far is property is concerned, 58% of would-be investors will look to invest in new properties.

In terms of UAE respondents’ employment, only a small percentage (13%) appear to be satisfied with their current job and career prospects. Almost half have neutral sentiments towards their current employment situation, and 36% are displeased, with a collective 76% selecting neutral (37%) or low (39%) satisfaction with the possibility for career growth in their current organisation.

Survey statistics show that feelings towards the level of job security in the UAE are relatively balanced; most respondents (38%) have a neutral opinion of their job security, 30% are unsatisfied and 26% are highly satisfied.

“Our survey demonstrates that the majority of employees in the UAE are indifferent or less to their current career status, which shows that there is definite room for improvement. The general sentiment is that an increase in salary could be due, in correlation with inflated costs of living,” concluded Zureikat.

Data for the quarterly Bayt.com Consumer Confidence Index survey was collected online from June 1 – July 17, 2011, with 7,245 respondents aged over 18 years, covering GCC Arab, North African, Levant, Western Expatriate and Asian nationalities. Countries who participated are UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Pakistan.

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