UAE. The latest research, gauging the perceptions and attitudes of working women on their role and experience at their work environment, was recently carried out by the Middle East’s number one job site, Bayt.com, and research specialists, YouGov.
The interesting accumulated results derived from ‘The Women in the Middle East Workplace - 2011’ survey reveal various elements of women’s role in the workplace, focusing on numerous aspects including their opinions, approaches, capabilities and contentment.
The survey also gave researchers a thought-provoking insight into women’s views in regard to their treatment in comparison to their male counterparts.
To start off with, despite working the same amount of hours as men, a third (31%) of women feel they receive less pay than their male colleagues rising to almost half among GCC nationals and Asian expats.
Also, more than half (52%) of married working women reveal they earn less than their spouse, with just one in five (19%) who claim to earn more. The comprehensive survey also shows that besides earning less pay than men, about a third (31%) of working women think they have less chance of being promoted than their male counterparts, again rising to about a half among GCC nationals.
However, after disclosing that information, interestingly 25% of those same working women did state that they would prefer a male boss than a female boss. This is probably due to the fact that most career women are used to working under male management, with three quarters (76%) of working women currently reporting to a male boss.
Having said that only 7% of working women feel that they work less hours than their male colleagues, and 17% claim they work longer hours while a majority of 63% feel they work almost an equal number of hours as their male colleagues.
Additionally, while 7% of the women, within the Middle East and North Africa, stated they worked in a ‘women only’ work setting; 84 % said they worked with a mix of both genders, 9% said that although their work place has a mix of both men and women, they are segregated from their male colleagues – according to the research.
Amer Zureikat, VP Sales, Bayt.com, said, “Bayt.com is considered as the number one job site in the Middle East and North Africa, and together with research experts YouGov, we are devoted to studying and evaluating data that can help women in the region in regards to their workplace environment.
Through this study of exceptional analytical surveying skills, we have attained vital results that were needed – in order for Bayt.com to provide a better platform for women who are working and/or are pursuing a new and better professional career.”
Even though there are perceptions of lower pay, two thirds (68%) of women feel they are treated equally to men at work and less than one in seven (15%) think they are treated unfairly compared to their male colleagues; while nearly three in five (57%) who feel that the system of appreciating, recognising or rewarding employees is based on performance alone and not on gender.
Almost 23% (three in five) feel that prospects for women have substantially improved in their country of residence, but one in five (19%) do not think there have been sufficient improvements.“These understandings help to offer suggestions that can eventually encourage change towards greater workplace equality. Data such as this concluded from ‘Women in the Middle East Workplace - 2011’ survey offers a wide array of benefits to HR industry professionals, recruiters and online jobsites like Bayt.com, by providing detailed, considered insights into what it really means to be an employed woman in the Middle East and North Africa, while offering a highly interesting oversight of the reasons and meaning that women attach to their work,” commented Sundip Chahal,CEO, YouGov
Top benefits offered to working women are paid maternity leave according to 42% of working women in the region, family health insurance at 32% and training at 26% coming to the conclusion that women in government/semi government roles or internationally owned companies are better off with less chance that none of these benefits are offered.
When it comes to maternity leave, over a quarter (27%) of working women are not satisfied with the maternity leave and benefits available to them, with 25% stating they get a maternity leave period of three months or less.
The main barriers facing women in the region seem to be family ties and priorities at 24% and traditional society stereotypes and taboos at 14%. This is supported by the fact that half (17%) of single working women think their future marriage plans will affect their career choices to a large extent.
Interestingly, having children is seen as less disruptive than marriage with only a quarter (27%) of working women with children who think their kids have negatively impacted on their career.
The top reasons given by women for wanting to work are to become financially independent (52%) and to be able to support themselves or their household financially (48%). The importance of salary is also highlighted by the fact that a higher salary would be enough to influence over two thirds (69%) of women to change their job.
However, women are clearly working for more than just money with almost two thirds (63%) who would continue to work even after achieving all their financial goals, and only15% saying they wouldn’t.
“In following and observing this data, businesses and industries across the entire region can benefit from the results, allowing women to adjust, or grow within their working environment, as well as change behaviours for promoting gender equality. The objective was to understand perceptions and attitudes of working women in their role and experience in the workplace, which is an immensely significant instrument in finding out the true nature of the business environment from a woman’s perspective in the Middle East and North Africa today,” concluded Zureikat.
Data for the ‘The Women in the Middle East Workplace - 2011’ survey series was collected online between 26th April and 23rd May, 2011, with a total of 2347 women participating from across the MENA region – UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, North Africa: Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia. A mix of local, Arab expat, western and Asian nationalities – all 18 years and above – were included in the survey.
This and other Middle East research, as well as information on Bayt.com’s classifieds, are available online on www.bayt.com.