Banking jobs most popular among GCC women, says survey
UAE women along with their counter parts in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman are striving professionally, across key industries, and have expressed strong dislikes for particular industries with expected specific difficulties related to (re)entering the workforce, said Oxford Strategic Consulting in key findings from its recent GCC Employment Reports 2016 on eve of International Women's Day.
The report states that women demonstrated a clear preference for working in the banking and finance industry as well as in non-traditional roles like aerospace and HR.
Hana Al Rostamani, Head of Consumer Banking, First Gulf Bank, said: "The UAE has an impressive track record of empowering women and ensuring gender balance in our community. This principle and those values have inspired entities in the UAE to follow in the footsteps of our leadership. At FGB, we are very committed to enhancing female participation in finance and banking, and I am proud to be working in such a vital sector for our economy and to make a true difference on a daily basis and to be giving back to the country and the leaders that has given me so much as an Emirati female."
The report further states that around 57 per cent of Saudi women, 43 per cent of Omani women, 33 per cent of Qatari women and 29 per cent of Emirati women considered banking and finance to be their industry of choice compared with 35 per cent, 23 per cent, 20 per cent, and 11 per cent of men respectively. As for nontraditional roles, Saudi women were twice as likely than men to aspire to a job in aerospace, and Qatari females much preferred working in HR over male coun- terparts (11 per cent versus one per cent).
GCC female perceptions of the medical industry were mixed. Qatari women were five times more likely than men to aspire to a job in the medical industry, and females in the UAE were three times as likely than males to consider a career in medicine. In Saudi Arabia, women were significantly more likely than men to want to work in a hospital (34per cent vs. 17), yet Omani females were four times less likely than male counterparts to consider working in the medical industry.
Women held overwhelmingly negative views of the tourism and hospitality industry. Saudi women were six times less likely than males to consider working in tourism and hospitality, and Omani females were also significantly less likely to want to work in the industry. Moreover, 29 per cent of Emirati females and 15 per cent of Qatari females ranked tourism and hospitality as their least favoured industry to work in at present.
Women still expect significant difficulties when sourcing employment in 2016. Qatari women were significantly more pessimistic than men about how easy it is to find a job, and they were three times more likely than men to consider 'not knowing how to apply for a job' to be a significant difficulty. The findings suggest that the good news is that many obstacles to increased female employment in the GCC are straightforward to overcome. Direct interventions such as interview training, CV workshops and mentoring can help improve female job candidates' self-esteem and confidence. Similarly, well-designed job fairs and online portals can better connect employers with qualified female candidates. Flexible and remote work options may offer some relief to those females working unduly long hours.