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Tue 19 Feb 2008 12:00 AM

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Soaring cost of living top reason to quit job

ArabianBusiness.com Salary Survey reveals inflation has taken toll on Gulf workforce.

The soaring cost of living in the GCC is the prime reason employees want to quit their job, the ArabianBusiness.com Salary Survey has revealed.

Across all salary levels, nationalities, countries and industries cost of living is almost unanimously the number one reason employees are looking to leave their job.

The burden of skyrocketing rents and food prices far outranks gripes over pay (21.49%), job satisfaction (11.69%) and recognition (12.15%), as well as the prospect of increased opportunities elsewhere (17.75%) and poor company performance (4.49%).

Just over 32% of respondents said cost of living was why they wanted to hand in their notice, rising to over 50% depending on the industry they work in.

Rents and property prices, along with the cost food and commodities, have driven inflation to record levels across the Gulf.

Inflation hit 14% in Qatar last year, 7.6% in Oman, 6.2% in Kuwait, 6% in Saudi and 4.9% in Bahrain. Inflation touched a 19-year high of 9.3% in the UAE in 2006, the last official figure.

Analysts are predicting inflation will continue to plague the Gulf this year due to a shortage of housing supply and the fall in value of the US dollar, which has been blamed for driving up the cost of imports from the eurozone.

The dollar hit record lows against major global currencies last year, dropping almost 12% against the euro and the Indian rupee, and 2.8% against the British pound.

Those worst effected by rising cost of living have been the low paid. Data from the survey shows 37.25% of those earning less than $20,000 per year said cost of living was the main reason they wanted to quit.

While for those earning over $100,000 per year cost of living came second in importance to increased job opportunities elsewhere.

Similarly, almost 40% of Filipinos, 37% of Indians and 35.6% of Pakistanis, the majority of whom are on low and middle income salaries, chose cost of living as their biggest problem.

The only nationalities that do not want to quit their job due to the rising cost of living are Gulf nationals, many of whom picked lack of recognition has the main reason they wanted to leave their job.

Governments in the region have been working hard to reduce the effect of inflation on their citizens by raising public sector pay and introducing food subsidies.

However, analysts have questioned whether these measures are really an answer or just a way of temporarily masking the problem.

Employees working in the UAE and Qatar, where housing supply shortages are at their most acute, have been worst affected by inflation.

Over a third of respondents from in both countries said cost of living was the number one reason they wanted to leave their job.

In Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, where the effects of inflation have yet to really take hold in the same way, lack of an increase in pay is the number one reason, while in Oman and Bahrain cost of living is only marginally more of a problem than issues.

The degree to which inflation is preceived to be a problem when it comes to the industry employees work in very much correlates to how well workers in that industry are paid.

Those in lower paid industries - agriculture, cargo and freight and mining - voted cost of living the main reason they want leave their job, while those in the best paid sectors - law and real estate - considered it less of an issue.

In total 8,914 people comprising 121 nationalities took part in the ArabianBusiness.com 2008 Salary Survey.

Get interactive: Why do people want to leave their job?

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