A new survey reveals that UAE residents are highly satisfied with life in general.
The ‘Happiness and Wellbeing in the Mena’ survey conducted by Middle East job site, Bayt.com, and YouGov, an independent research and consulting organisation, also revealed that health was on the upswing, but lack of job satisfaction had majority stressed.
The survey cited the top reasons for satisfaction amongst respondents was attributed to safety and security (66 per cent), stability of political environment (60 per cent), availability of basic utilities (57 per cent), availability of entertainment avenues (55 per cent) and general infrastructure (45 per cent).
Of the 11,170 respondents that participated in the Mena survey, which spanned 14 countries, including Pakistan, the UAE breakdown indicated that
13 per cent are ‘extremely satisfied’ with life in general, while 59 per cent are simply ‘satisfied’.
People in the UAE ranked amongst the happiest in the region when it came to many factors related to country of residence, taking the number one position in terms of overall infrastructure, safety and availability of employment opportunities .
The UAE ranked second in terms of attitude and behaviour of people in general, with the ability to lead a stable financial life and maintain healthy personal relationships with family and friends.
Over 73 per cent of the UAE population indicated they are in good to excellent health, with another 20 per cent indicated they are in somewhat average health and six per cent cited some degree of health issues, which they claim are predominantly under control.
Yet, while 40 per cent of the surveyed employees in the UAE claim to be ‘somewhat satisfied’ or ‘extremely satisfied’ with their job, 60 per cent of respondents claim to be stressed by everyday life, with 17 per cent claiming to be ‘extremely stressed’ and 43 per cent claiming to be ‘somewhat stressed’.
Three quarters of respondents indicate the number one cause of stress in the UAE is, as across the rest of the region, the increasing cost of living.
Other leading causes are work-related issues (as stated by 60 per cent of respondents) and the inability to maintain a good work-life balance (as stated by 50 per cent).
In terms of recognition received at work, 17 per cent of UAE professionals are ‘extremely satisfied’, while 15 per cent are happy with working hours, 14 per cent are content with support received from colleagues and 13 per cent have the work-life in balance.
Meanwhile, with regards to their personal life, respondents from the Mena region are generally satisfied with their current mental and physical health.
In fact, 75 per cent claim they are in good overall health, and around half of the respondents say that they are extremely satisfied with the current relationship they have with their family.
On the other hand, the highest dissatisfaction noted by respondents is with financial independence across all three regions (GCC, Levant, and North Africa).
People in the Mena are also not too satisfied with their professional lives, with 45 per cent of respondents across the region claiming they are somewhat dissatisfied with the remuneration they receive.
There is also a sentiment that in general, there are not too many opportunities for career advancement (this is particularly seen in Syria, Jordan, Algeria, and Morocco).
When asked about overall satisfaction with current job, generally it is low across the region, with Morocco being the lowest.
When asked about current levels of stress that they have in their everyday life, four in 10 respondents claim they are ‘somewhat stressed’, with the key contributors to stress being the increasing cost of living and current economic situation of the country.
Suhail Masri, VP of Sales, Bayt.com, said: “For life satisfaction, it is pretty clear that employment is an extremely important factor. Stress is a prevalent issue across the region, which is likely reflective of the uncertain economic situation experienced in many Mena countries.
“However, despite the fact that many professionals seem to be afflicted with stress-related ailments, there seems to be a general sense of happiness with the overall state of life.”
The general state of the country of residence is also seen to highly affect happiness in the Mena.
GCC respondents have much higher levels of satisfaction on most attributes seen as key to happiness aside from cost of living and overall employment opportunities.
Respondents in North Africa express high dissatisfaction with the availability of key aspects such as general infrastructure, public transport facilities, opportunities to socialise and entertainment avenues.
In Levant, respondents from Jordan express satisfaction with most aspects measured, contrasting strongly with high dissatisfaction in Lebanon and Syria.
Across the Middle East, employment opportunities and cost of living are the two elements that respondents say they are least satisfied with, in their country of residence.
Sundip Chahal, CEO, YouGov added: “Happiness differs greatly on different factors when we’re comparing the three main regions in the Mena: North Africa, Levant, and the GCC.
“The survey reveals UAE as one of the happier countries within the region. This satisfaction can be attributed to the fact that people feel safe and secure in the country with a stable political environment.”
The ‘Happiness and Wellbeing in the Mena’ survey was collected online from June 6th to 20th, 2013.