Business | General

Banking, finance staff in region fear for jobs

6 out of 10 afraid of losing work in 6 months

  • By Cleofe Maceda, Senior Reporter
  • Published: 19:34 June 24, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Supplied
  • In the Middle East, an overwhelming majority of survey respondents said they had no time to enjoy leisure pursuits.

Dubai: Finance professionals in the Middle East are feeling more stressed out than their counterparts in other markets, as job security fears grow and employment cutbacks persist.

In a survey conducted by eFinancialCareers, an employment site for people working in the banking and financial sector, about three out of every 10 people (31 per cent) said they felt “very” stressed at work, while nearly 60 per cent feared lay-offs.

Fears for more job cuts are still very much prevalent in the finance sector. HSBC, the largest bank by market capitalisation in Europe, had announced this year that it will shed off 14,000 workers worldwide.

A report by The Guardian estimated that by the end of 2013, four major banks — Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays and HSBC — will have laid off 189,000 individuals. Other sources also predicted that redundancies announced by other banks last year are expected to take effect this year.

In the latest survey, about 58 per cent of regional residents working in finance said they were either very or quite concerned about losing their job in the next six months. Due to staff cutbacks, 41 per cent of the respondents said they had to put in the most overtime at work.

In comparison, only 19 per cent of Americans said they felt stressed “very often”. The proportion of workers feeling the same were fewer in the UK (13 per cent), as well as in Germany (20 per cent) and France (30 per cent).

US workers also said they were able to enjoy a work-life balance, with 75 per cent of them saying they had enough time to pursue other interests outside of work. In the Middle East, the overwhelming majority (61 per cent) said they had no time to enjoy leisure pursuits.

Previous studies have shown that stress levels in the Middle East workplace are higher than in other markets, primarily because the region, particularly the UAE, has a fast-paced corporate environment. Organisations are also highly results-oriented and continue to face staff shortage.

“The UAE and the wider Middle East is home to businesses that cater to countries beyond the region. This means many employees are covering multiple time zones, which increases working hours,” Hazel Jackson, CEO of biz-group, earlier said.

Experts have warned that high levels of work-related stress can significantly bring down productivity, as workers feeling stressed out are likely to resort to absenteeism.

“Stress can significantly impact an employee’s health and well-being. This is not only bad for them, but also bad for business, as it results in lower productivity, higher rates of sickness and absenteeism leading to a poor and often negative working environment,” said James Bennett, global managing director of eFinancial Careers.

eFinancialCareers’ website does not just provide job opportunities for finance professionals, but also employment market updates, analysis, salary surveys and career advice.

Comments (2)

  1. Added 10:21 June 25, 2013

    I work for a Bank’s vendor. The Bank’s IT is in outskirts of Dubai. As I am a vendor, the Bank’s transport is not accessible. My office people propose very less days to complete a project & get the tender. Now the burden is moved on our head. Thus our office hours are increased from 8:30am till 7 pm (10.5 hours). Our manager says in our labor law for IT Professionals its 48 working hours per week without lunch break thus 48/5= 9.6 hours a day we have to work without lunch break. Since travelling time of 2-3 hours is not included, we end up spending 12.5 hours a day just for work. Imagine the % of quality time that I can spend with my small son & my family & cooking, etc. I don’t know whether it’s legal. Can the Ministry of labor look into this? Even Ramadan time we have to work 10.5 hrs. But as eyewash they send an official e-mail stating the timings are from 9am - 3pm…!

    Anee, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 09:30 June 25, 2013

    Hence the policy of the banks is they take the profit and staff bear the losses, by reducing incentives, applying policies where the staff unable to take any incentives, and some banks even have started charging labour card costs to the staff... which seems outrageous. In short banks take no risks where the staff is concerned !!! Of course the ultimate sufferer is staff who is at the lowest level.

    A M, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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