The cost of living for UAE residents seems to be on an upward tick with a new survey revealing a downfall in savings and negligible salary increases over the last six months.
The statistics were reported as part of a new study commissioned by Bayt.com in partnership with YouGov, a research and consulting organisation.
More than 6,500 respondents across the Middle East and North Africa region anticipated a rise in the cost of living in their country in the next six months.
A significant 43 per cent of the respondents claimed their salaries had not changed in the past six months with only 19 per cent saying their financial situation had improved. Interestingly, more than half of the survey respondents said their savings had also declined in comparison to last year.
Despite that, expectations for the future are high with almost half of the survey’s respondents anticipating their personal financial situation would improve in six months. Somewhat contrary to this is that 71 per cent predicted the cost of living in their country of residence would increase in the months to come — including 73 per cent of respondents in the UAE.
Business conditions, on the whole across the Mena region, are considered to be ‘average’ by a majority 41 per cent of respondents, while 32 per cent said things were ‘good’ or ‘very good’.
“It’s clear to see which countries are currently perceived by residents to be more favourable to live and work in than others; countries within the GCC seem to be preferable for their current economic situations and the business conditions that comes with such. The Levant seems to be less popular at present, most likely influenced by regional political situations,” said Bayt.com Sales Vice-President Suhail Masri.
Employment conditions are considered to be difficult, with 32 per cent of regional respondents stating there were ‘few jobs available across few industries’, and 26 per cent saying there were ‘few jobs available across various industries’. Employment opportunities seem to be the highest in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, followed by Qatar and Oman. UAE respondents said they were satisfied with their career growth opportunities (43 per cent), non-monetary benefits (43 per cent) and job security (45 per cent), though they were mostly unhappy with their current compensation, with 39 per cent dissatisfied compared to 36 per cent who were satisfied.
“With the majority of people anticipating an increase in living costs and having experienced a decrease in savings, it may be time to take an evaluative look at the stability of personal financial situations,” said YouGov CEO Sundip Chahal, CEO.
Long-time UAE resident Meera Kumar believes the country still holds its position as a lucrative employment hub.
“There are many opportunities for growth and development in a career if one gets an opportunity to get employed with a major company. There are a lot of major global organisations with offices in the UAE and many new ones are being set up every year. With the Expo 2020 in sight, things will definitely become better once the bid comes through,” she said.