About 68 per cent of people in the UAE consider saving money as a top priority next year, according to a survey by Bayt.com and market research company YouGov.
A key takeaway from the survey is that the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of saving and having an emergency fund for short-term liquidity needs, according to the survey, which polled 1,790 respondents from 17 Mena countries, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia, from October 11 to November 4.
Around 43 per cent of people polled said buying property is a a priority in 2021, followed by 36 per cent who said they would like to spend more time with family, 30 per cent who expressed a desire to want to exercise more, and 28 per cent that said they'd like to travel.
Nearly 22 per cent of UAE respondents reported not being able to save any of their income over the past year, whereas about 20 per cent said they saved less than 10 per cent of their annual income, and 18 per cent reported saving between 11 to 20 per cent of their yearly salary.
The findings echo those of another survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of global consultancy Kearney Middle East in August. That survey found only four out of 10 UAE residents increased their personal savings during the Covid-19 stay-at-home measures.
The Bayt.com survey also found that 61 per cent of UAE respondents worry about financial issues in their daily lives, while 38 per cent worry about unemployment and 34 per cent are concerned about career path uncertainty.
Despite the fluid environment globally since the onset of the pandemic, 81 per cent of those surveyed in the UAE have a positive outlook for the upcoming year. Only 6 per cent had a negative outlook, while the remaining portion of respondents remained neutral.
In the UAE, 76 per cent of professionals said they set professional goals for themselves, 58 per cent expressed an interest in finding a new job, 47 per cent said they want to learn new skills and 43 per cent want to earn a higher salary.
The survey found that 55 per cent of respondents prefer being employed compared with 25 per cent who said they wanted to own a business.
“Mena professionals often face varying challenges in their respective careers. However, their ambitions and attitudes are similar in various areas,” said Ola Haddad, director of human resources at Bayt.com.
“Our survey highlights that many professionals across the region either want to progress in their current roles or believe they should be working in a higher-level position.”
About 76 per cent of UAE respondents said that salary and benefits mattered most to them, while 67 per cent said career growth is important and 33 per cent chose job security.
Around 43 per cent of those polled said they prefer to retire after the age of 60 while 21 per cent said their preference was between 56 and 60 years.
A quarter of respondents chose Canada as their ideal country to relocate to, followed by 10 per cent who chose western and European countries.