How do this year’s prices compare to last year's? How easy is it to find a job today in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)? Has unemployment increased or decreased in 2016? How satisfied are people with their current salaries and savings? How likely are they to make investments? The answer to these questions is found in the Bayt.com Consumer Confidence Index.
The perception and attitude of consumers is key to understanding the conditions of the economy and the job market. The Bayt.com Consumer Confidence Index, October 2016, reflects consumer satisfaction in regards to unemployment, cost of living, job availability, salaries and benefits, business growth, investment opportunities and more.
Let’s take a look at the most recent research results provided by Bayt.com, the Middle East #1 Job site:
1. Modest economic improvements
Less than one fifth of professionals in the MENA region believe that their financial situation is better now than it was six months ago. Indeed, there are regional differences to be considered as a higher proportion of respondents in the GCC (25%) have experienced an improvement in their financial conditions. These low figures are best explained by the increasing cost of living. According to the survey, higher costs of living coupled with a slow salary adjustment has caused more than half of the respondents to use up their savings. 57% of respondents believe that they have less savings today.
At a national level, changes to the economic conditions remain meek; only 15% of professionals believe that economic conditions are better today than they were six months ago and only 6% believe that the business conditions are very good. The sentiment is also similar for availability of jobs as the majority of respondents believe that there are few jobs available across a few industries.
2. Optimistic predictions for the future
Despite the slow improvements in personal and national economic conditions, the Bayt.com Consumer Confidence Index, points to a hopeful and positive consumer base. Nearly a third of respondents believe that their financial conditions will improve in the next six months. Again, these numbers are higher in the GCC as nearly half of respondents in Qatar (47%) and the UAE (46%) share this sentiment.
At a national level too, nearly a third of respondents predict the economic conditions to improve within the next six months. 43% of respondents believe that the business conditions will improve. Although the majority of respondents to the Bayt.com Consumer Confidence Index do not foresee an increase in job availability, the most recent Bayt.com Middle East Job Index Survey, revealed an increase in hiring potential; there are more hiring opportunities over the next three month and the upcoming year when compared to the year 2015.
3. Consumers’ investment choices
Given the economic conditions mentioned above, where will consumer spend their income in the upcoming year?
About one third (32%) of respondents is planning to buy a vehicle while nearly a quarter (23%) plan to invest in a property. In terms of consumer goods, smart phones and computers continue to be on top of the list as most consumers intend to buy these items over the next 12 month.
This article originally appeared in Bayt.com.
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