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Mena residents see improvement in personal finance

Dubai, March 18, 2013

More than 40 per cent of professionals in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region expect their personal finances to improve in the next six months, revealed a recent survey.

The latest Mena Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) Survey, conducted by Bayt.com, a leading job site, and YouGov, a research and consulting organisation, shows that residents are anticipating the cost of living to increase in the coming year, although their financial positions have not improved.

In the UAE, only 22 per cent of respondents claim that they are in a better position now compared to six months ago. However, Mena respondents have an optimistic outlook for the months to come, with 44 per cent expecting their personal or family’s financial situation to improve in the next six months.

The survey pointed out that only 18 per cent of respondents across the region claim that they are in a better financial position now than they were six months ago.

Only 15 per cent across the region say that their savings have increased in the last year, with 25 per cent saying they have remained the same. However, hope for the future is high, with 44 per cent expecting their financial situation to improve in the next six months, the survey stated..

Conversely, 78 per cent believe that the cost of living in their country will go up, while only 32 per cent said they will look to buy a vehicle in the next 12 months.

Of this, the majority (48 per cent) will opt for a used vehicle, and only 20 per cent are looking to buy property within the same time frame. Those intending to invest in property will primarily look for new (57 per cent) apartments, the survey said.

In terms of smaller purchases, desktop or laptop computers remain the most popular anticipated purchase (27 per cent), followed by furniture (18 per cent) and LCD or Plasma televisions (17 per cent), it added.

On the UAE scenario, the survey pointed out that 46 per cent of the respondents said that there had been no change in their current financial situation for the past six months, while 22 per cent claim there had been an improvement; while half (49 per cent) say that their savings have depleted in comparison to last year.

However, with 56 per cent believing that things will be better in the coming six months, the UAE is one of the most optimistic countries in the region. Despite this optimism, 71 per cent believe that the cost of living in the country will increase within the same timeframe.

The majority of UAE residents (48 per cent) are not considering buying a personal vehicle in the next 12 months. Of the 39 per cent who claim they are looking to make a purchase, 45 per cent will choose to buy a new vehicle, while 46 per cent will opt for a used one.

In terms of property, only 23 per cent are looking to invest; interests lie in buying new apartments.

Also  the survey revelaled that desktop or laptop computers (27 per cent), furniture (21 per cent) and LCD or plasma televisions (18 per cent) will be the top purchases made in the coming six months.

Expectations for the future are high in the majority of countries, with most expecting the national economic situation to be better, and all anticipating better business conditions.

Yet, there is little anticipation for more jobs to be available; only 29 per cent state there will be an increase in employment opportunities, while 28 per cent say things will stay the same, said the survey.

According to the survey, the hiring and downsizing rates seem to be relatively balanced on the regional level.

In comparison to six months ago, 29 per cent of respondents say they now have fewer colleagues; 34 per cent say that there has been no difference, and 30 per cent say that their company has hired more employees.

There is an even split between respondents when it comes to their predictions for the future: an equal 35 per cent state that their company will have more or the same number of employeesin the next six months.

The majority of respondents (41 per cent) are currently satisfied with their career growth opportunities in their current job, though 46 per cent are dissatisfied with their compensation and allowances, compared to just 33 per cent who are happy.

In terms of non-monetary benefits, 43 per cent are happy, while 38 per cent aren’t. In terms of job security, 41 per cent claim to be satisfied.

According to respondents, the UAE ranks fifth in the region in terms of company growth in the last six months, with 36 per cent stating there are now more employees than before. Four in ten respondents (44 per cent) believe their company will hire in the next six months.

Job satisfaction levels are relatively high in comparison to the region. Respondent in the UAE are satisfied with their career growth opportunities (44 per cent), non-monetary benefits (47 per cent) and job security (44 per cent).

However, while 34 per cent claim to be satisfied with their current compensation, 39 per cent are unhappy with it.

“There is a lot of conflicted sentiment across the region at present, with clear disparities between regions within the Mena – especially between the GCC, and the Levant and North Africa. The GCC seems to be faring especially well on the whole, with Oman, Qatar, Saudi and the UAE coming out amongst the highest in terms of current status and future prospects,” remarked Suhail Masri, the vice president of sales, Bayt.com.

“Bayt.com’s CCI Survey allows us to examine the region as a whole, delving specifically into those areas that most affect job seekers,” he stated.

Sundip Chahal, the CEO of YouGov, said the disparity between regions in the Mena is to be expected, given current events in those countries with the lowest positive responses.

"However, there is a brighter outlook for the region as a whole, with the majority of people looking forward to an improved business environment; this, in turn, should boost employment and economic situations," he added.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Middle East | Survey | finance | cost |

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