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Report: The Women in the Middle East Workplace 2011 - Survey
The Women in the Middle East Workplace 2011 survey measures women’s perceptions, attitudes, experiences and satisfaction with various elements of their role in the Middle Eastern workplace, particularly regarding their treatment relative to that received by their male counterparts.
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.
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.
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.
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.