Almost six in 10 professional women in the UAE enter the workforce to achieve financial independence, a new survey from Middle East jobs site Bayt.com and market research firm YouGov found.
According to Bayt.com's Working Women in Mena report, 57 per cent of the 600 women polled said they seek employment to be financially independent, while 48 per cent said their motivation was to support or financially contribute to the household.
“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,” said Roba Al-Assi, Marketing Director, Bayt.com.
Women’s participation in the UAE labour force grew from 34 per cent to 46 per cent between 2000 and 2014, a 2017 report from The Boston Consulting Group found.
The Bayt.com survey found female empowerment was a driving force for women in the UAE. Fifty-two per cent of those polled said establishing a successful career was their main source of happiness and just under half said they work to broaden their perspectives on life.
However, women are also motivated by money. The majority (58 per cent) said a higher salary was the most important benefit they considered when selecting their last job, while nearly two-fifths (39 per cent) stated that opportunities for long-term career growth were also very important.
Rasheda Khatun Khan, a wealth and wellness planner and founder of Design Your life, said modern professional women tend to have children later in life, by which point they already have established career paths and high incomes.
"That’s why a lot of women re-enter the workforce after having children because they want to continue their career path and earning cycle," she said. "Financial independence is important for any woman. Those dependent on their spouse may suddenly find their husband cannot provide – whether due to illness, job loss, death or divorce. Everyone should have their own pool of cash in their own name as security."
Flexibility is also key for women hunting for a new role, according to Bayt.com, with 25 per cent of those polled citing flexible working hours as important.
Kerry McLaren, head of Omnibus Mena at YouGov said: “While most of our respondents believe women and men are treated equally at their employer; when women report there is gender inequality at work, the No 1 cited issue is with respect to promotions. This survey will help employers focus on what matters to women in the workplace.”