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Mon 19 Dec 2016 02:01 PM

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Most promotions in UAE firms 'no longer based on gender'

55% of survey respondents say job offers are based on level of experience and qualifications

Most promotions in UAE firms 'no longer based on gender'

Workplace equality in the UAE has reached the same level compared to working women in western countries, with women facing “no gender bias when it comes to promotions”, according to a new report.

The Working Women in the Middle East and North Africa survey by and YouGov found 55 percent of female respondents stating job offers were based on experience and qualifications with gender playing no role in the decision.

Thirty-nine percent respondents said they have never been asked questions that made them feel discriminated during their interview.

The survey measures the perceptions of women in the Middle East region when it comes to equality at work, motivations for employment, challenges faced at work, as well as career and life ambitions.

In the UAE, 43 percent of women said their chance of being promoted depends entirely on job performance and gender plays no role. In the Middle East, 59 percent of respondents said appreciation at the workplace is based on performance alone without regard to gender.

“Women are fundamental players in building and shaping the region’s economies and contributing to the success of every business. The survey results show a very positive direction towards gender balance in the region, particularly when it comes to opportunities for promotion,” said Suha Mardelli Haroun, regional sales director,

When it comes to being employed in the UAE, 94 percent women surveyed said they have some familiarity with the labour laws of their country of residence, with 44 percent claiming to be very familiar. Of those familiar with the labour laws, 78 percent said they are fair to women, “at least to some extent.”

Eighty-three percent respondents in the UAE said having a mix of men and women working together in the same workplace. Of the women who work in mixed-gender environments, nearly 87 percent are comfortable with it, with more than half 57 percent reporting that they are extremely comfortable. Further, 40 percent of respondents report that they are not treated less favourably or discriminated against as women in the workplace.

Although 65 percent of women surveyed in the UAE believe that all employees work equal hours, 43 percent believe they have the same opportunities for promotions and career growth, and 26 percent believe they receive the same salaries.

The top three challenges that women in the region face in their work environment are less opportunity for job promotions (51 percent), stressful and demanding work environment (39 percent), and a lack of sufficient job training and coaching (35 percent).

In the UAE, 25 percent of respondents believe that their future marriage plans will affect their career to some extent. Similarly, across the region, 33 percent of respondents believe that their marital life has been affected positively by their career choices.

Data for the survey was collected online from November 6 to 22, with 888 female respondents from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria taking part.