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Press Release

UAE women reach retirement with just 69% of men’s wealth

November 18, 2022

Gender wealth gap in UAE is wider than global average, and senior female leaders fare worse
Compensation Strategy & Design|Inclusion-and-Diversity|Retirement|Ukupne nagrade

DUBAI, November 18, 2022 — A new global study from WTW, a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company, shows that on average women in the UAE are expected to reach retirement with just 69% of the wealth accumulated by men.

The WTW Global Gender Wealth Equity report reveals that, globally and on average, women are expected to reach retirement with 74% of the wealth accumulated by men through their working career, with the difference between countries researched ranging from 60% at worst to 90% at best.

The study also shows that this gap in wealth worsens for women in more senior jobs. In the UAE, women in senior leadership roles have only 57% of the accumulated wealth that their male counterparts enjoy on retiring, which is greater than the global average gap of 62%.

For mid-level professional and technical roles in the UAE, the gap is still substantial at 61%, but narrows to 92% for frontline operational roles. Globally, those figures are 69% and 89% respectively.

Lea Farhat, Director, WTW UAE, said: “This inequality is found across the world, and is caused by a complex mix of factors, including the salary gap between men and women, delayed careers for women due to family care, and gaps in financial literacy. Many societies, including the UAE, are seeing a welcome debate about pay equality. But that is not the only factor, and we should broaden the scope of the discussion to include women’s wealth at retirement.

There is still more to be done to improve the whole ecosystem, and that could include adequate paid maternity leave, supporting mothers returning to work, caregiving options, and working hours flexibility.”

Lea Farhat | Director, WTW UAE

“The UAE government takes this issue seriously and has made some welcome reforms to narrow the gender gap, including a law on equal pay for equal work. However, there is still more to be done to improve the whole ecosystem, and that could include adequate paid maternity leave, supporting mothers returning to work, caregiving options, and working hours flexibility.

“One encouraging aspect is that the UAE’s gap is partly explained because proportionately more Emirati females have reached more senior roles than in many other countries.”

The report showed Nigeria had the worst overall gender wealth gap score in the study at 60%, closely followed by Argentina at 61%. At the other end of the scale, Spain has a gap of 86% and South Korea 90%. The USA has a wealth gap of 75%.

Lea Farhat added: “It is encouraging that there is strong interest among regulators and employers in the UAE to enhance end of service benefits and create more comprehensive workplace savings plans. The private sector is also now aligning with these reforms initially aimed at the public sector, and I expect the gap will narrow in the near future.”

In the UAE the study focused on local Emirati nationals only and excluded expatriates, because social security entitlements are factored into accumulated wealth calculations.

Commenting on the overall findings, Manjit Basi, Senior Director, Integrated & Global Solutions, WTW, said: “The results from our global analysis are startling. It shows that there is a gender wealth gap consistently across the 39 countries that we studied. It’s imperative that activities around gender diversity, equity and inclusion broaden to look at economic wealth at the end of women’s working careers. Pay is a fundamental factor that underlies the gender wealth gap and while addressing the gender pay gap will partially close the wealth gap, it won’t eliminate it entirely.”

The WTW Global Gender Wealth Equity report follows a collaboration between the World Economic Forum (WEF) and WTW earlier this year which released initial insights into the wealth gap in its Global Gender Gap Report.

About the survey

The WTW Wealth Equity Index (WEI), developed in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, takes a holistic view across women’s working lifetimes and attempts to quantify the extent of the gender wealth gap for a selection of countries globally. It analyzed the quantitative and qualitative aspects of gender wealth equity, with deep dives into 39 individual countries.

Previous gender studies have focused on assessing gender disparities from the single lens of pay, career, pensions and longevity or workforce representation. The reality is that the issue of gender inequity and its causes and effects are multidimensional. By focusing on accumulated wealth, we consider the effects of many intermingled inequities, including pay, career progression, financial literacy and events that occur during a working lifetime. And we can measure through one metric — accumulated wealth at retirement.

About WTW

At WTW (NASDAQ: WTW), we provide data-driven, insight-led solutions in the areas of people, risk and capital. Leveraging the global view and local expertise of our colleagues serving 140 countries and markets, we help organizations sharpen their strategy, enhance organizational resilience, motivate their workforce and maximize performance.

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