Posted on: Thursday 23 August, 2012 9:17
|30% of UAE respondents claim that their company has more employees now than this time last year, according to Bayt.com and YouGov survey
–The latest Middle East and North Africa Consumer Confidence Index Survey, conducted by Bayt.com, the Middle East’s number one job site, and YouGov, a research and consulting organisation, shows that expectations for the year to come are high across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. In the UAE, respondents forecast a better financial climate and economy, with improved business conditions and more jobs available.
In general across the MENA region, feelings for respondents’ personal situations at the present time are neutral. Only 28% claim that their financial situation is better than last year, compared to 65% who state that it has either remained the same or declined. National economies are considered to be worse than last year, according to 33% of respondents. Consumer behaviour (41% of respondents say that now is a ‘bad time to buy’) is likely impacting business conditions which are neutral to bad, as stated by 65%.
In terms of employment, almost half of the respondents (49%) claim that there are ‘very few jobs available’. Six out of ten say that their company has either the same or fewer employees than this time 12 months ago, and two thirds (65%) believe that their salaries have not kept pace with the cost of living.
However, respondents appear to be optimistic for the upcoming year. The majority believe that their personal financial situation (51%), country’s economy (44%), business conditions (49%) and employment conditions (35%) will improve.
“Retaining a positive outlook for the year to come will be pivotal to the region’s success. Conditions may not be considered to be entirely favourable at the present time, but there are plenty of signs that the months to come will prove beneficial for all,” said Suhail Masri, Vice President of Sales, Bayt.com. “Bayt.com gathers vital information from pertinent cross-sections of MENA society, to provide in-depth insights into the feelings, behaviour and trends happening in recruitment and business around the region.”
Satisfaction with career prospects in the region at present is low, according to 39% of respondents, while 38% state that it is ‘neutral’. Three quarters of respondents (74%) also claim that prospect for career growth in their current organisation is neutral to low. Job security is seen to be an issue by 67%, with only one in four (27%) claiming their job security is ‘high’, and satisfaction with compensation is neutral to low, according to 84%.
With regards to employment, 24% of companies expect to increase employees in the coming 3 months. A further 61% are either neutral or pessimistic about growth potential vis-a-vis the number of employees in their organization. The sentiment towards keeping up with staffing requirements is neutral, according to four out of ten respondents (37%), however 19% cite optimism.
The outlook for inflation is negative, with 38% believing there will be a rise in the cost of living. Similarly, 36% believe the cost of real estate is still creating a feeling of negativity across the region.
In the next 12 months 29% of respondents are planning to purchase a vehicle. Of these, 51% will buy new. Moreover, One in five (21%) are considering investing in property, with 65% of them planning to buy new.
The five most popular consumer purchases in the next six months will be desktop or laptop computers (25%); furniture (20%); LCD or plasma television (18%); air conditioners (16%) and digital cameras (13%).
“Consumer habits have remained somewhat stable in the past year, with the same five product categories continually topping the list. Computers are always a favourite purchase across the board, and technology in general seems to consistently be the best-selling consumer goods category,” said Sundip Chahal, CEO, YouGov.
In the UAE
Similarly to the rest of the region, respondents from the UAE feel that their current personal financial situation has either remained the same (36%) or become worse (31%). Feelings towards the country’s economy are mostly neutral (36%), and it is considered to be a neutral time to buy according to 50%. In line with this, 74% of respondents state that business conditions are neutral to bad, and 80% state that there are ‘not many’ or ‘very few’ jobs available.
While a third (30%) of UAE respondents believe that there are more employees in their company now than there were at this time last year; 34% claim that there are fewer. The majority (68%) state that their salary has not kept pace with the cost of living.
For the year to come, expectations are high, as ever. More than half (52%) believe that their personal financial situation will improve. Also expected to improve are the country’s economy (45%), business conditions (49%) and employment conditions, with 35% stating there will be more jobs available.
Job satisfaction in the UAE is considered to be mostly neutral to low, with only 16% believing that the career prospects in their current job are high, while 43% state that the opportunities for career growth are low. The majority (75%) claim neutral to low satisfaction with their job security, and half (50%) are unhappy with their current compensation.
Over 23% of UAE respondents anticipate a growth in the number of employees at their current company in the coming three months, with 38% being ‘neutral’ with the prospect of keeping up with staffing requirements.
Respondents anticipate a mostly negative impact vis-a-vis the cost of living (according to 35%); they also believe that accommodation costs will rise (stated by 33%).
In the next 12 months, 27% of UAE respondents are considering purchasing a vehicle; of these, 49% will buy new. Within the same time frame, 19% will consider buying property, 66% of whom will purchase a new property.
The three most popular consumer purchases for the next six months will be desktop or laptop computers (24%); furniture (20%) and LCD or plasma televisions (17%).
Data for the quarterly Bayt.com Consumer Confidence Index survey (August 2012) was collected online from July 16 to August 1, 2012, with 7,421 respondents aged over 18 years, covering GCC Arab, North African, Levant, Western Expatriate and Asian nationalities. Countries who participated are UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Pakistan.