Working Mena women ‘want financial freedom’
Dubai, June 25, 2012
Working women in the Mena region are motivated professionally mostly by monetary prospects, and 65 per cent of them believe that women in mixed gender workplaces receive no special benefits, a report said.
When asked to select any option (or several options) that applies to them when asked about reasons for employment, the majority of women (57 per cent) chose “gain financial independence”, in the recent ‘Women in the Mena Workplace 2012’ survey conducted by Bayt.com, the Middle East’s leading job site, and YouGov, a research and consulting organisation.
This is especially true in Saudi Arabia, where 65 per cent of women – the highest in the region – stated this as their main objective, as did most Arab women residing in the GCC (58 per cent) and Western women (57 per cent).
Meanwhile, six out of 10 Arab women residing in the GCC also chose to work in order to broaden their perspectives in life, while most Asian women (63 per cent) seek to financially support their household.
Women who are 25 or below are also strongly motivated to put their education to good use, while those in the 36-45 age bracket want to secure their children’s future.
When looking for a job, Mena women take the following into consideration, in order of importance: salary (59 per cent), opportunities for long-term career growth (31 per cent) and health insurance for their whole family (28 per cent). Retirement benefits are important to working women aged 46 and above.
“Women across the Mena region are breaking stereotypes and embracing their careers more wholeheartedly than ever before. There is a desire for equality and it seems that, for the most part, this desire is being met by employers,” said Lama Ataya, Bayt.com.
“The results of this survey fall in line with Bayt.com’s experience with the Mena workplace, and with our analysis of employee and employer habits and aspirations to present a clear picture of the regional employment market.”
Seven out of ten women (69 per cent) are comfortable with working in mixed gender environments, which 74 per cent of all survey respondents work in. In Saudi Arabia, 37 per cent of women work in mixed workplaces; however, they are separated from men.
The survey showed that there are more female managers/bosses in Lebanon (28 per cent), Tunisia (24 per cent) and UAE (20 per cent) in comparison to other countries, though only 19 per cent of respondents across the region claim to report to a woman.
In general, while the majority (68 per cent) have no preference for the gender of their superior, women (especially in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt) prefer to work for a male boss (as per 28 per cent of the region’s respondents) as opposed to a female one (4 per cent).
“It is encouraging to find that so many women are comfortable working in mixed gender environments, which is perhaps a nod to a more Westernised influence over regional society,” said Sundip Chahal, CEO YouGov.
“The low satisfaction with maternity leave suggests that there is room for this benefit to be expanded upon for employers looking to increase their appeal to existing female employees and job seekers.”
In terms of benefits, the most commonly received is personal health insurance (51 per cent), followed by paid maternity leave (38 per cent); company transport or transport allowance (28 per cent); job-related training (28 per cent) and family health insurance (19 per cent).
Almost half of the surveyed women (44 per cent) state that fewer opportunities for job promotions are the biggest challenge they face in their work. Stressful and demanding work environments follow, according to 38 per cent, while a third (33 per cent) state that lack of flexible working timings, limited opportunities to perform and insufficient job training and coaching are equally demanding.
When it comes to working hours, 58 per cent of women claim to put in as many as their male colleagues, while 22 per cent claim to work even more. – TradeArabia News Service