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Only 31% of MENA residents’ financial situation has declined in the past year, according to Bayt.com and YouGov survey

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May 27, 2012

Majority of MENA residents have positive sentiments for the year to come

The latest Consumer Confidence Index, conducted by Bayt.com, the Middle East’s number one job site, and YouGov, a research and consulting organisation, has revealed that the majority of MENA residents have either maintained or improved upon their financial status in the past 12 months, with more positive sentiments for the year to come.

Regional Sentiment:

While roughly a third of regional respondents to Bayt.com’s Consumer Confidence Index experienced a decrease in their finances in comparison to 2011, another third (34%) state that they have not had any change at all. More than a quarter (27%) claim to have an improved financial situation.

Country economies are considered by most to be either the same or worse than last year, and the majority of respondents believe that this is a neutral or bad time to purchase durable consumer goods and that business conditions are unfavourable.

Only 12% claim that there are jobs readily available. The MENA-wide sentiment (as per 67% respondents) is that remuneration and compensation are not keeping pace with the cost of living, with a majority of respondents (40%) stating dissatisfaction with their current job and career prospects along with chances for growth (39%).

Despite this, job security appears not to be too much of an issue for professionals in the Middle East and North Africa; a collective 61% claim their job security to be ‘neutral’ to ‘high’. The overall sentiment is that there will be little growth in terms of number of employees in companies in the coming three months, with 37% stating that they feel ‘neutrally’ about staffing requirements being met.

As far as the year ahead is concerned, the outlook is positive across the MENA. Respondents consistently believe that their personal financial situation will take a turn for the better. The majority also say that the same will be true for their country’s economy, business conditions and employment availability, too. This positivity however doesn’t extend to the cost of living or real estate; 39% and 36% of respondents, respectively, believe that these will be negatively impacted in the future.

Only 27% of respondents will consider buying a new vehicle in the next year. Those who will are more likely to buy new. The same is true of the 21% who are looking to buy property. In terms of intention to make ‘smaller’ purchases, desktops and laptops continue to be top in popularity, followed by furniture and digital cameras.

“Feelings towards economy, commerce and employment are relatively consistent across the MENA region, with regional sentiment for the current situation remains relatively low. However, there is always hope for a more positive tomorrow. That employees feel secure in their current job is a welcome find,” said Suhail Masri, Vice President of Sales, Bayt.com. “At Bayt.com, we gather information that is relevant to both job seekers and employers, combining our knowledge of the industry and region to deliver tools pertinent to the millions of people who use our job site for recruitment purposes.”

“With the majority of people stating that their financial situation has either remained the same or improved over the last year, it may be that the positive outlook for the future may be realistic,” said SundipChahal, CEO, YouGov. “While the majority say that now is a bad time for business, there are some countries that are clearly experiencing a more positive commercial atmosphere – which, undoubtedly, is a good sign for things to come.”

In Oman:

For the most part, the situation in Oman follows that of the rest of the region. Respondents state that their financial situation is either the same or better now as it was 12 months ago, and that the country’s economy has improved.

People in Oman believe that this is a neutral time to buy consumer durable goods. Business conditions are also considered to be good.

The outlook for employment in Oman is the slightly better than elsewhere in the region, with 24% claiming that there are ‘plenty’ of jobs available compared to MENA average of 12% who claim the same is true for their country. Four in ten (44%) of Oman respondents state that there are more employees working in their company now compared to last year, while52% of them believe that their salary has not kept pace with the cost of living, and 45% say that their compensation is inadequate.

This does not seem to have had too negative an effect on job satisfaction, though. More than half (64%) opted for ‘neutral’ or ‘high’ to describe their satisfaction with their job and career prospects with their current employer; 58% state that their prospects for growth are ‘neutral’ to ‘high’. An additional 69% state that they have ‘neutral’ to ‘high’ satisfaction with their perceived job security.

In the next three months, most Oman respondents believe that there will be few additional employees added to their company (37% claim to have a ‘neutral’ sentiment in this regard). Similarly, 43% are neutral as to whether or not their company will keep up with staffing requirements.

In terms of financial situation, Oman respondents are positive about the year ahead, with the majority believing that both their financial situation (60%) and the country’s economy (63%) will have improved. Business and employment conditions are expected to be better.

Residents in Oman are divided equally over how the cost of living will be impacted in the year to come, with 31% stating it will improve, and 31% stating it will be negatively impacted. The same is true for the impact on the real estate market, with 25% voting for positive and 25% for negative.

Four out of ten Oman residents (41%) are expecting to buy a vehicle in 2012, of which 48% say they will buynew. Almost a third (31%) are considering investing in real estate, and of these, (19%) are considering buying a lived-in property. In terms of household goods, the most popular anticipated purchase is a laptop or desktop, followed by furniture and LCD or plasma televisions.

Data for the quarterly Bayt.com Consumer Confidence Index survey – May 2012 was collected online from April 18 – May 7 2012, with 10,138 respondents aged over 18 years, covering GCC Arab, North African, Levant, Western Expatriate and Asian nationalities. Countries who participated are UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Pakistan.

This article and all other intellectual property on Bayt.com is the property of Bayt.com. Reproduction of this article in any form is only permissible with written permission from Bayt.com.

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