65% UAE residents see business conditions improving in a year: Survey

In a recent survey, the “Middle East Consumer Confidence Index”, 31% of respondents in the UAE believe that their country’s economy is worse today compared to six months ago. The survey, conducted by Bayt.com, the Middle East’s number one job site, and YouGov, a leading market research agency, shows that, despite this, half of the UAE respondents (50%) expect their country’s economy to improve in the next six months.

Economic situation: an overview

Overall, only 28% of respondents in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) believe that their country’s economy has improved compared to 6 months earlier, while 27% claim that it has remained the same. 31% of the respondents believe their country’s economy has receded. When asked about future expectations, 50% of respondents were optimistic about the economy improving, and 11% believed the opposite to be true. Nevertheless, 23% of the respondents don’t expect any change in the economy.

In terms of business conditions, 39% of UAE respondents believe that business conditions are presently good. Conversely, 36% believe that conditions are average, while 22% believe that they are bad. Regarding expectations for business conditions in a year’s time, 65% of UAE respondents are optimistic. 17% expect the situation to remain unaltered, while only 7% are not confident at all, stating that the business conditions have the potential to get worse.

When it comes to job availability, 25% state that there are few jobs available across few industries, while a quarter of respondents believe there are few jobs available across various industries. About 15% of UAE respondents claim that there are plenty of jobs available but across a few industries only, while 21% state that there are plenty of jobs available across a wide variety of industries.

When it comes to future availability of jobs, a general positive outlook prevails amongst MENA consumers, where 16% of the respondents believe there will be a decrease of jobs available in their country over the next six months, and 32% state that the availability won’t change. However, 37% are still positive about this, stating that job availability will increase.

Personal economic situation

More than 1 in 4 respondents (29%) believe that their current financial position is better now than it was six months ago, while 39% believe that it has remained the same. On a positive note, almost half of (46%) UAE respondents expect their financial situation to improve in the next six months, while 28% say that it will remain the same.

Considering the opinions on the future cost of living, the majority of respondents (68%) expect the cost of living to increase in the next six months. On the other hand, only 8% of them expect it to decrease. When asked about the situation of their current savings compared to last year’s, 16% of UAE respondents claim that their savings have increased, while 30% claim that savings have remained the same. 46%, however, believe that their savings have decreased in the same period.

Spending and investment

A third of UAE respondents (37%) are planning to buy a vehicle for personal use in the next 12 months. Conversely, 48% are not planning on buying a vehicle at all. Of those who are planning on purchasing a vehicle, 44% are planning to buy a new vehicle, while 35% claim to be looking for a used car.

When it comes to investing in property in the next 12 months, 32% of UAE respondents say that they are planning to purchase property. 51% of respondents, however, are not. Of those who are planning on making a property investment, 39% will be looking to buy new property, while 27% will invest in pre-owned estate. Almost half of UAE respondents are looking to purchase an apartment (51%), while around a fifth will buy a villa/townhouse/bungalow (21%). 17% will invest in commercial property.

Current job perspective

In the USE, 36% of employed respondents feel that the number of employees in their companies has increased over the past six months, while 32% believe the opposite to be true. Over the course of the next six months, 47% of employed USE respondents expect the number of employees in their organization to increase, while 24% expect this number to remain the same. Conversely, 19% say that the number of employees in their company will decrease.

With regards to satisfaction levels, 48% of employed UAE respondents are satisfied with their career growth opportunities, while 29% are dissatisfied. When it comes to compensation, around a third of UAE respondents (37%) are satisfied, while 37% are dissatisfied with their current compensation levels. The majority of respondents (53%) are satisfied with the non-monetary benefits they receive, and 43% are satisfied with the level of job security in their current organization.

“Despite the negative feelings that have characterized the past few months, there are sparks of optimism among respondents that economic conditions in their countries will improve in the future,” said Suhail Al-Masri, VP of Employer Solutions, Bayt.com. “In reality, respondents believe that there aren’t sufficient jobs, and this reality proves that competition among job seekers is fierce across the region. This is where Bayt.com comes in the picture. By offering job seekers the most effective tools that can enhance their CV exposure to local and regional employers, we give job seekers the option of receiving customized and one-on-one assistance throughout their job search. Our aim at Bayt.com is to ensure that we are empowering all of the region’s job seekers and employers, which is why our role does not stop at the recruitment solutions. In fact, we regularly provide the region with the latest research and expert advice that are vital for career growth and success.”

Elissavet Vraka, Research Manager, YouGov, said: “It is important for us to conduct thorough research into the regional consumer sentiments. Conducted twice a year with Bayt.com, the Middle East Consumer Confidence Index survey is a powerful tool that gives insight into the thoughts and opinions about personal, business, and economic conditions of those living in the MENA region.”

Data for the “Middle East Consumer Confidence Index survey” was collected online from August 3 to 31 2016, with 2,893 respondents living in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria. Males and females aged 18 years old and above, of all nationalities, were included in the survey.