UAE: The Second Most Hardworking Nation with a Thriving Leisure Scene

Omar Abbas - | Mix

Based on data from the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Arab Emirates has been classified as the second-most hardworking country in the world, right after Bhutan.

The results of the ILO show that workers in the UAE put in 50.9 hours a week on average.

Active leisure time

Despite their demanding work schedules, UAE residents make the most of their free time. Over 97 percent of survey respondents reported engaging in 'out of home' entertainment activities. Here are some of the top entertainment preferences among UAE residents:

  • Home Movie Watching: 83 percent
  • 68% of people watch live sports at home.
  • Eating out: 68%
  • Participating in sports: 66%
  • 64 percent of people read books.
  • Taking part in video games: 53%
  • 37 percent of people watch live sports events in person.
  • Visits to the Movie Theater: 24%
  • Participating in a Live Performance Event: 23%

The Duke+Mir UAE 2024 spotlight revealed that the average person in the UAE spends eight hours and eleven minutes online daily. Remarkably, half of this time is spent gaming, highlighting the significant role of digital entertainment in the lives of UAE residents. Dining out is a prevalent activity, with seven out of ten people in the UAE eating out at least once a week. This statistic underscores the importance of social and culinary experiences in the daily lives of the UAE's population.

The Subscription Economy

The UAE's subscription economy is robust, with a significant portion of residents subscribing to various paid entertainment services. The data shows:

  • Eighty-one percent have at least one paid entertainment subscription.
  • Netflix and Amazon Prime are among the streaming services that 49% of respondents use.
  • 48 percent of people subscribe to home television services through companies like Etisalat or Du.
  • Spotify and other music streaming services are used by 23% of users.
  • Sports Streaming Services: 21 percent pay for platforms such as beIN Connect and Starzplay.
  • Video Gaming Subscriptions: 19 percent subscribe to gaming services.
  • Online Fitness and Wellness: 12 percent use these subscriptions.
  • eBook Subscriptions: 11 percent are subscribed.
  • Paid Magazine and News Services: 8 percent have these subscriptions.

The number of Emirati nationals employed in the private sector has increased significantly, hitting a record high of more than 100,000. With 70,000 additional hires over the last 2.5 years, this is a notable increase over prior years. The UAE's attempts to diversify its economy and boost local employment in the private sector are reflected in this rise.

The United Arab Emirates's standing as the world's second-hardest-working nation is evidence of the commitment and perseverance of its citizens. The data also reveals a thriving offline and online culture of leisure and recreation. The high rate of use of subscription services and eating out, together with the notable increase in employment in the private sector, indicate a vibrant and changing society.

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Omar Abbas
Omar Abbas
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