the Middle East’s number one job site
A recent Consumer Confidence Index survey conducted by Bayt.com, the Middle East’s number one job site, and YouGov, a research and consulting organisation, demonstrates that while end-of-year sentiments towards personal financial situations and national economy appear to be pessimistic, outlook for next year is brighter.
The Present Situation
Respondents in the UAE state that their (and their family’s) current financial situation is either the same (38%) or worse (36%) than last year, with only one-fifth claiming to have had their finances improve in the same time period. The generally neutral/negative feeling is also directed towards the country’s economy, with a collective 66% saying that the situation is the same (34%) or worse (32%) than it was 12 months ago.
Business conditions are considered to be down; 40% of respondents say that this is a bad time for business, which is perhaps reflective of the fact that 39% believe that this is a bad time to purchase consumer durable goods – only 16% say this is a good time to buy, with 38% claiming it to be a neutral time.
This quarter is also considered to be a bad time for employment: 47% of respondents claim that there are ‘very few’ jobs available in the UAE, with a further 37% saying that there are ‘not many available’. In correlation with this, 41% state that there are fewer employees working with them now than there were this time last year, with just 24% claiming that their businesses have expanded, and 27% saying that the number of employees is still the same.
Meanwhile, an overwhelming 71% of respondents claim that their salary has not kept up with the current cost of living.
“Sentiments are quite low this year, as it seems like we’re still riding on the tail end of the economic recession. However, going forward, expectations and optimism are high, particularly for those looking for employment,” said Amer Zureikat, VP Sales at Bayt.com. “At Bayt.com, employers and job seekers alike can find the ideal solution to their employment needs, as we make it easier for people to find their ideal match through our comprehensive database.”
Expectations for 2012
As mentioned by Zureikat, the outlook for 2012 is positive, with 43% of respondents believing that their financial position will change for the better in the coming year, and 40% saying the same about the country’s economy. Business conditions are expected to improve according to 41% of UAE respondents, and 28% are positive that there will be more jobs available – though 30% believe that the number of jobs will remain the same, and 27% believe there will be fewer jobs.
Pessimism continues when respondents were questioned about expected company growth in the coming three months: 38% believe that there will be no change in the number of employees taken on by their company (17% say there will be positive growth; 31% state the opposite). The statistics reflect a similar outlook in terms of keeping up with staffing requirements – 39% of respondents have neutral sentiments, with 26% stating that their company will fail to match requirements.
The outlook for the economy is not much better, as inflation has left 37% of UAE respondents with a negative outlook for the cost of living in the future, and 30% believe that the cost of real estate will be negatively impacted, too.
“Despite the overall outlook being less than positive for the present, there are some warming sentiments for the year to come as people look forward to improved business conditions. Better business conditions should lead to more jobs and possibly enhanced compensations, which is always something to look forward to,” said Sundip Chahal, CEO, YouGov.
Again, there is a tendency towards negative sentiment when it comes to job satisfaction. Only 13% of respondents in the UAE are satisfied with their job and career prospects, with just 14% of them feeling happy with the potential for growth in their current organisation. Satisfaction with job security is considered to be slightly higher, with 21% claiming that they are secure in their positions; only 7% are content with their current compensation though. Half of respondents are displeased, and 36% are neutral.
Purchasing Predictions in the Coming Year
The majority of UAE respondents are not looking to make any major purchase in 2012. Of the 25% who say that they are considering buying a vehicle, 44% will buy new, and 47% will opt to purchase a used vehicle. Only 14% are looking to buy property in the coming 12 months – of these, 64% will buy new.
Laptops continue to be the most popular items that people are looking to buy in the next six months, with 24% saying they will invest in one. The second-most popular consumer good in the UAE is air conditioners (20%), followed by furniture (19%).
Data for the quarterly Bayt.com Consumer Confidence Index survey was collected online from November 27 – December 6, 2011, with 7,343 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.