By Sarah Townsend
Bayt.com, YouGov consumer confidence survey indicates greater positivity about future than current conditions
The majority of UAE residents expect business conditions to improve within the next year, but a substantial proportion believe conditions at present are “bad” and job opportunities are scarce, according to a survey.
The latest Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Consumer Confidence Index from recruitment firm Bayt.com and YouGov, indicates a generally positive outlook from UAE residents on the future of the country’s economy.
It said 60 percent of survey respondents said they expect business conditions to improve in a year’s time, while almost half (48 percent) said they expect the economy to improve within the next six months, compared to one in five who expect it to get worse.
However, the majority of UAE residents still believe economic conditions are tough at present, with only a quarter (26 percent) of respondents saying they think the country’s economy has improved in the last six months, and 43 percent saying they believe it has receded. Thirty percent said they believed it has stayed the same, while 12 percent said they “didn’t know or couldn’t say”.
The same mixed picture applied to respondents’ evaluation of employment opportunities. At present, only 19 percent of UAE survey respondents agreed with the statement, “There are plenty of jobs available across various industries”, while 27 percent said “there are few jobs available across few industries” and 25 percent said “there are few jobs available across various industries”. Sixteen percent said, “There are plenty of jobs available but across a few industries only”.
However, respondents’ outlook for the future was more positive with 30 percent of saying they expect job availability to increase in the next six months.
The survey also found that 31 percent of employed UAE respondents perceived that the number of employees in their company has increased over the past six months, while 35 percent perceived the opposite to be true. But 38 percent of employed UAE respondents said they expect the number of employees in their organisation to increase over the course of the next six months.
Almost half (47 percent) of employed respondents said they were satisfied with the career growth opportunities available in their current job, and 33 percent said they were dissatisfied. Some 37 percent said they were satisfied with their current compensation, but 42 percent said they were dissatisfied with their salary and allowances.
With regard personal finances, the survey found that 40 percent of UAE respondents reported that their personal financial situation was “the same as it was six months ago”, while 27 percent said it was worse, and 25 percent said it was better.
Again, the outlook is marginally more positive – with 51 percent of respondents predicting their personal financial situation will improve in the next six months. However, 58 percent believe cost of living will rise over the same period, and only a quarter (23 percent) said it would remain the same.
Elissavet Vraka, research manager at YouGov, said: “Despite the positive outlook on the future, the rising cost of living is negatively impacting residents’ ability to save.”
Bayt.com and YouGov said they surveyed 3,905 GCC respondents online between January 27 and February 10.
Suhail Masri, vice-president of employer solutions at Bayt.com, said: “While the region as a whole has seen a relative dip in consumer confidence, future expectations amongst respondents remain positive and bright.
“At Bayt.com, there are currently more than 10,000 jobs posted on the website on any given day and jobseeker registration on our website is growing at over 12,000 new professionals a day, reflecting a healthy appetite for jobs.”