UAE SMEs are likely to employ women as much as men

  • SMEs are likely to employ women as much as men
  • Under-30 employment seekers also favoured by small business owners

Women are just as likely as men to find employment in small and medium-sized businesses in the UAE, according to the latest research by business intelligence company MEED.

Of the more than top 50 SMEs in the Emirates which participated in the study, 50 per cent said they employ an equal number of women and men in their organisations. About 40 per cent even reported having a majority of women on their payroll compared to men.

MEED compiled inputs from SMEs in the UAE as part of this year’s edition of the Gulf Capital SME Awards. The awards recognise outstanding small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as exceptional business leaders and entrepreneurs.

The study shows a step forward for the adoption of equal employment opportunity practices, and highlights SMEs as spearheading the efforts across the UAE.

Earlier this year, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced the formation of the “UAE Gender Balance Council”, a federal body that aims to boost the Emirates’ efforts to evolve and enhance women’s role as key partners in building the future of the UAE.

The council will be chaired by Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who in a statement said, “The impact of a significant female presence in leadership roles has wide-ranging benefits on the economy, on governance, and on society at large. The UAE has always worked to dismantle barriers that create tension between the genders. We have a great opportunity to uncover new paths that we may walk on together”.
Another interesting highlight of the research indicates a growing number of young professionals are now employed by SMEs, with 47 per cent of respondents saying many of their staff are aged under 30.

Amidst these positive developments, the study also found that an overwhelming majority of SMEs consider recruitment to be one of their top 3 challenges, with 62% saying they have found it “very difficult” to find the right talent to fill available positions in their companies.
Becky Crayman, Head of Awards, MEED, says, “While the UAE has become a hub for many from around the world, it seems there is still a mismatch, at least in the SME business sector, between available jobs and the experience and expertise of people based in the UAE.”


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