GCC women striving professionally but expect employment difficulties in 2016

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In light of International Women’s Day on March 8th, Oxford Strategic Consulting is releasing key findings from its recent GCC Employment Reports 2016 to help shed light on female aspirations and employment views across the region. The reports, which surveyed national females in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and the UAE, found that while women are striving professionally across key industries, they expressed strong dislikes for particular industries and also expected specific difficulties related to (re)entering the workforce.

Females demonstrated a clear preference for working in the banking and finance industry as well as in non-traditional roles like aerospace and HR.  57% of Saudi women, 43% of Omani women, 33% of Qatari women and 29% of Emirati women considered banking and finance to be their industry of choice (compared with 35%, 23%, 20%, and 11% of men respectively). As for non-traditional 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 counterparts (11% vs. 1%).

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 (34% 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% of Emirati females and 15% of Qatari females ranked tourism and hospitality as their least favoured industry to work in at present.

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