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Sat 12 Jul 2008 04:00 AM

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Expats say pensions are an important benefit

Recent research from Zurich International Life (Zurich) reveals pensions are an increasingly important feature of an employee’s benefits package for expatriates living in the Gulf region.

Recent research from Zurich International Life (Zurich) reveals pensions are an increasingly important feature of an employee's benefits package for expatriates living in the Gulf region.Paul Haran, Zurich’s Middle East regional director, said: “Attracting and retaining employees is a major challenge for companies around the world, not least in terms of cost. But in the Middle East, a market where finding and retaining staff is increasingly difficult and employees are looking to secure their future, offering pensions is now a vital component of the employment offer. Not only are pensions a very attractive benefit from the employees perspective, they can also prove appealing for employers in terms of helping to retain staff.”

The second wave of the Zurich Wealth Monitor, a research probe into the attitudes and future financial plans of Zurich’s core customer groups, questioned 700 expat professionals living in the UAE, Bahrain and Qatar during April.

The research revealed, on average, almost half of all expats (49%) living in the region said their employer offers adequate employee benefits.

With 21% of firms in the UAE & Bahrain and 13% in Qatar already including pensions as part of their overall package to employees, the pension penny is beginning to drop.

“With only 20% of employers in the region actually offering corporate pension schemes, but with 56% of respondents agreeing the single most important factor in deciding who to work for was the employee benefits offered, it is clear the potential benefit of offering a pension as part of an employee’s package could be beginning to be realised by employers,” he added.

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