In a country with a melting pot of cultures—local citizens make up only around 20 percent of the population—anxieties vary greatly among residents. Since locals have the security of strong government support (free education, health care and assisted housing loans), it’s not surprising that anxiety levels for Middle Eastern expats are higher across all areas of concern.
According to our most recent AnxietyIndex survey of 503 adults conducted in October and November 2009, the greatest source of angst in the UAE is economic and financial, as the nation saw drastic layoffs and organizational restructuring starting in the second half of 2008. After the collapse of the real estate market, the inflated cost of living did not drop fast enough to reflect the end of the period of speculation, placing purchasing power and family security high on the list of anxiety drivers.
Middle Eastern expats are concerned about a shift in societal values, health issues (we saw a surge in health advertising and psychological advice) and the rising unemployment rate. Locals are not as concerned about societal values, as theirs are preserved within a close-knit community. Interestingly, for a nation criticized for its lack of environmental care, locals’ major concerns revolve around the impact of global warming and food prices.
The outlook for the next six months is pessimistic, with anxiety centered around the cost of living and food prices. Job security, however, is expected to improve.
Click here to download the full UAE AnxietyIndex report from the Trends and Research page.