Low salaries are the biggest cause of stress among UAE workers, finds survey

Author: PM editorial | Date: 29 Sep 2016

GCC salaries are on the rise – but not fast enough for those lumbered with personal debt

The biggest contributor to stress in the UAE workplace is a low salary, according to a new survey by job site Bayt.com.
 
Poor remuneration was cited as the biggest cause of stress by 28.2 per cent of respondents, while lack of job security (12.3 per cent) and the workplace environment (9.7 per cent) were also prominent.
 
It was no surprise, then, that when asked what the number one stress factor in their life was, the most common answer was ‘financial situation’, ahead of ‘work’ and ‘personal issues’. Earlier this year, figures released by the National Bank of Abu Dhabi showed that the average debt per person in the UAE in June was Dh42,600, up 7.5 per cent on the previous year.
 
Despite the fact that salaries in the GCC are predicted to rise 4.7 per cent next year and by a similar amount this year, they are not rising fast enough for some.
 
Such pronouncements of salary increases may be premature, according to Trefor Murphy, founder and CEO at Cooper Fitch. “All of the in-country markets are still quite soft, and until we see the key commodity of oil get above at least a break-even-point of $60 a barrel, this is set to continue,” said Murphy to People Management in August.
 
Financial stress doesn’t just affect the individual but leads to friction with colleagues as well, as 31.5 per cent agreed with the statement ‘I tend to have frequent arguments with my managers, co-workers or customers’.
 
Employees in the UAE are not alone in their stresses, though, as the poll found that more than half of respondents across the Middle East believed their job to be more stressful than it was a year ago.
 
However, the survey also offered solutions to combat stress. In answer to the question ‘what can be done to avoid stress?’ a quarter of those asked said having regular team meetings helped, while ‘employers offering flexible working hours’ was also a popular answer.
 
Smoking and consuming more caffeine were the third and fourth most popular answers to the question ‘what’s your number one strategy for coping with job stress?’ but fortunately they were a long way behind the healthier options of exercising more and socialising with friends after work.