Souqalmal unveils financial education programme for corporate sector employees

The e-learning course covers personal finance topics such as budgeting, mortgages, personal loans, credit cards, remittances and car purchases

The number of women in the UAE enrolled in science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses rose to 41% in 2019-20, from 33% in 2018-19, according to Coursera. Getty
The number of women in the UAE enrolled in science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses rose to 41% in 2019-20, from 33% in 2018-19, according to Coursera. Getty

Financial comparison website Souqalmal.com has unveiled a financial education programme for corporate employees in the UAE.

The programme was introduced in response to demand from employers to train their employees to help alleviate their financial stress and increase productivity amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The financial stress some of the employees were facing was affecting their productivity level,” said Ambareen Musa, founder and chief executive of Souqalmal.

“Chief executives did not want to let these people go but unless the situation changed, they would have no choice.”

After a year of Covid-19 disrupting people’s lives, finances are the top cause of employee stress, ranking above job, health and relationship stress combined, according to the 2021 PwC employee financial wellness survey.

About 63 per cent of full-time employees said their financial stress has increased since the start of the pandemic, the survey, which polled 1,600 full-time employees in the US, said.

A global recovery in working hours and incomes this year will be slow, uneven and uncertain, according to the International Labour Organisation.

The ILO: Covid-19 and the world of work report said the Covid-19 pandemic is set to cut working hours by 3 per cent, the equivalent of 90 million full-time jobs, compared with pre-crisis levels.

“As we saw the concerns of many employers and their request for help, we decided to launch the first-ever financial wellness programme for employees. This will allow employers to invest in improving employees’ financial health and, therefore, decrease the level of stress both at home and at work,” Ms Musa said.

Companies in the UAE can subscribe to Souqalmal’s financial education programme on a monthly basis. The programme cost will depend on the number of employees who will be provided access, Souqalmal said in a statement.

This will allow employers to invest in improving employees’ financial health and, therefore, decrease the level of stress both at home and at work

Ambareen Musa, founder and chief executive of Souqalmal

The e-learning programme includes nine modules on topics such as budgeting, understanding a credit report, finding out the cost of buying a property in the UAE, buying and financing a car, how to manage your finances if you are new to the UAE, managing credit cards, understanding personal loans and remitting money.

The modules are made up of a combination of videos, presentations and a set of downloadable tools and calculators.

The programme will also cover common financial scams to promote awareness among consumers.

“We built it in a way where it becomes the repository of financial education for employees across the year,” Ms Musa said.

For instance, the module on buying a house offers a mortgage calculator, all costs involved in the house purchase and which ones are negotiable, what to watch out for, a checklist of what you need to ask the bank about the interest rate and how to negotiate the rate, she said.

All content in the financial education programme has been conceptualised considering UAE rules and regulations. The programme will be updated as and when new regulations are introduced in the Emirates.

Souqalmal will also unveil new modules and more tools every quarter, which will help users get closer to reaching their financial goals, Ms Musa said.

“One of the tools, for example, is a budgeting app, which will allow users to remove the chore of tracking expenses every day.”

Updated: May 30, 2021 12:31 PM

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