Home » Oliver Wyman: Women at Work: Advancing Gender Equity in the UAE Private Sector

Oliver Wyman: Women at Work: Advancing Gender Equity in the UAE Private Sector

by Madaline Dunn

Oliver Wyman has released its Women at Work: Advancing Gender Equity in the UAE Private Sector report, a study based on a survey of 500 women and 300 men working in the UAE private sector.

The report offers insights into the motivations, challenges, and recommendations for improving gender equity in the workplace, highlighting differences in behaviour patterns in the UAE compared to other parts of the world. 

It found that the prime motivator for women working in the UAE private sector is financial incentive (33 per cent), followed by praise and recognition (30 per cent). 

Comparatively, in the US, a Gallup survey of 13,000 employees revealed that 66 per cent of women considered greater work-life balance the most important factor when considering a new job.

In total, 61 per cent of women in the UAE believe that their company ensures fair pay; it was found that this is a perception that increases as women become more senior in their organisation.

Elsewhere, the report found that women in the UAE are twice as likely to lead gender-balanced teams as their male counterparts and more willing to advocate for themselves compared to global peers. 

Of the women surveyed, two-thirds had argued their case for a promotion with an employer, and 80 per cent were successful. 

The report compared this with data from research on 4,600 working professionals in Western countries, which found that only 15 per cent of women who requested a raise were successful.

Despite these statistics, the report found that only 57 per cent of women feel comfortable speaking up in meetings in the UAE, versus 69 per cent of men. 

On the composition of teams, it found that 76 per cent of respondents have male managers, and only 40 per cent work in gender-balanced teams. 

That said, those led by women in the UAE are twice as likely to be gender-balanced than those led by men.

The report makes a number of recommendations for companies, individuals, and policymakers. 

To increase the perception and reality of pay parity, the report’s authors recommend that pay scales be tightly defined and clearly communicated for each job role – for example, median +/-10 per cent, with placement along the pay scale determined by objective metrics articulated before the interviewing process.

In terms of improving self-advocacy for women, the authors suggest that employers train team leaders to foster an environment of psychological safety and ensure that they are intentional about creating a meeting culture that is inclusive of all employees. 

The report also recommends providing women with more opportunities to showcase their expertise. 

Read the full report here.

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