A new survey conducted by Bayt.com – the Middle East’s #1 Job Site – and YouGov – global online market research company – titled Working Women in the MENA, revealed that financial independence (57%) is a key reason women enter the workforce in the Middle East. 48% of female respondents said that they seek employment to support or financially contribute to the household and 48% do it to broaden perspectives on life.
Gender Equality at MENA Workplaces
Many companies in the MENA region recognize that gender equality is a crucial component to creating inclusive workplaces. The majority of survey respondent believe that women and men are treated equally at their workplace across a variety of areas, including recruitment and selection, career progression, training and development.
In line with the overall feeling of workplace equality, nearly two thirds (62%) reported working the same number of hours as male colleagues, while 23% reported working more hours than male colleagues.
While half of women surveyed (50%) believe promotions depend entirely on job performance and gender plays no role, 35% of respondents believe women have lower chance of being promoted.
The Bayt.com survey also provided valuable information to employers on designing solutions for the common issues facing today’s working females. Most women reported their organization offers official maternity leave of two to three months.
Work-Life & Future Challenges
To understand what men and women value in their decision to take a job, the survey asked women to reflect on challenges they faced in their most recent job. Fewer opportunities for promotions (49%), stressful and demanding work environment (38%), and insufficient job training and coaching or lack thereof (33%) are reported to be the top three challenges women face in their work environment.
Roba Al-Assi, Marketing Director, Bayt.com said: “More and more employers are interested in ensuring their workplaces are effectively attracting and retaining all types of talents. In light of this, Bayt.com’s regional survey identifies the employment challenges that today’s working women confront and examines how companies can innovate and alleviate these concerns to improve their workplaces. For example, this survey shows that companies can increase productivity by finding new, innovative ways to support professionals with children to balance between work and life, as half of the respondents stated that their decision to have children has affected their career. At Bayt.com, not only do we provide such vital information to empower companies to design HR processes, but we also create various tools that aid employers find their talent needs and streamline the hiring process.”
The Pursuit of Happiness
An analysis of survey data highlights some very concrete truths about the progress of female empowerment within the MENA region. Establishing a successful career emerged as the main source of happiness for most of female respondents (52%), travelling to other countries is also important for them (37%), followed by maintaining good health (36%).
To understand what female professionals value in their decision to take a job, the survey asked respondents to reflect on which job characteristics were important to them in choosing their most recent job. Overall, the majority (58%) of respondents selected a higher salary as the most important benefit, nearly two-fifths (39%) stated that opportunities for long term career growth were also very important to them as were flexible working hours (25%).
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Muslim World Today.