Women lagging behind on pay

More than a third of women in the UAE believe they are treated less favourably than men, the study found.

DUBAI // Most working women report to a male boss and many believe they are treated unfairly on pay and career development, a study suggests.

Most women say they are not discriminated against at the recruitment stage, and they feel comfortable working in mixed environments.

They also believe they receive equal treatment to men on working hours, career advice and support.

However, the survey of more than 1,500 women throughout the Mena region found companies are still lagging behind on equality of salaries and career prospects.

More than a third of women in the UAE believed they were treated less favourably than men, the study found.

Throughout the region, dissatisfaction about career development was most pronounced in Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and women in Oman complained most about pay inequality.

“I am not surprised,” said Iman, 28, from Syria, a banker with an international company.

“This is the culture in most Arab countries: they think men can take more stable decisions, while women are more emotional.

“This is a discussion I already have with my friends. They underestimate us, so we have to work harder.”

Iman believes she receives the same pay as her male colleagues and enjoys the same opportunities for career growth. As a single women, however, she is expected to work longer hours than married women or women with children.

“It is not written in your contract but they mention it,” she said.

While gender and marital status have significance, nationality is more important when determining the chances of career success. Americans, Australians and Britons are the most desirable for employers in her industry, Iman said.

“I would say there is national discrimination but that has nothing to do with gender.”

The survey was carried out by bayt.com, the regional employment website, and YouGov, the research and consulting organisation. They interviewed 1,543 women in the region, 359 of them in the UAE, in October and November.

Suha Haroun, the website’s HR director and regional sales manager, said that while the study showed women felt equally competent across many skill sets, there were mixed sentiments about equality in the workplace.

“Employers should take advantage of this skill level to enlarge the talent pool, and perhaps take it as an opportunity to recalibrate on elements such as salary, benefits and advancement opportunities,” she said.

Anthony Kiamtia of eSolutions, a recruitment company that specialises in the technology sector, said international technology companies were already recognising the need to offer more opportunities to women.

“Top-tier technology companies are trying to hire more women, especially in technical capacities, as a way to give more balance to their workforce and adhere to global practices,” he said.

vtodorova@thenational.ae

Published: December 15, 2014 04:00 AM

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