ABU DHABI // Just over half of respondents to a nationwide survey said they are satisfied with the lives they lead here. The survey, released yesterday by the polling company YouGov Siraj, was conducted among 835 residents. They were questioned on a range of factors influencing quality of life, such as job security, financial stability, health and children's education. Fifty-three per cent of the respondents said they were satisfied with their lives.
Sune van der Vyver, a 23-year-old South African who moved to the UAE 18 months ago and who works for a development company in Abu Dhabi, said she was not surprised by the findings. "I am pretty happy here," she said. "I just finished studying a year ago. It was much easier to find work here than back home. "The biggest difference is money-wise. There is a lot less pressure here," said Ms van der Vyver, who cited the UAE's low crime rates as another attraction.
The survey showed that satisfaction levels were particularly high among Emiratis and Western expatriates. Thirty-six per cent of Emiratis and 33 per cent of westerners said they feel their situation represents an improvement compared with last year. On the other hand, 37 per cent of Arab expatriates and 30 per cent of Asian expatriates said their work situation or business outlook has worsened this year.
Despite this, H G Ravindra, a 34-year-old procurement manager who arrived in Dubai from his native India in October 2008, said: "The quality of life has improved. Earlier everything was stretched. It was difficult to find a taxi, for example. I had to wait 45 minutes to get one. It is a better situation for consumers now because there is more supply than demand." Krishna Kumar, 35, also from India, said he too was satisfied.
"When I came here, Dubai was at the peak of its success," he said. "People had a lot of money, Everyone was spending money like anything. Things are becoming more realistic now." Mr Kumar said he remains optimistic despite seeing his property lose value when the housing market cooled. "Now there is more hope around the world and Dubai is changing too. I am working with a multinational company and I am not worried about my job. My company is in good shape."
With the world having witnessed one of the worst economic crises since the 1930s, 60 per cent of respondents said their stress levels increased compared with last year. That was a result of a combination of factors including the increased cost of living (80 per cent), uncertainty regarding financial stability (77 per cent) and increased workloads (65 per cent). William Pretorius, 30, from South Africa, said the job market is tighter.
"It is getting a bit more competitive, there is not too much work around," said Mr Pretorius, a telecommunications equipment company employee. Yet, having arrived in Dubai only four months ago after working in Nigeria and Pakistan, he was optimistic about his prospects in the UAE. "It seems nice," he said. "The general living conditions are quite good. The only problem is, it is quite hot." firstname.lastname@example.org