When pursuing their first job, 77 per cent of graduates living in the UAE use or plan to use online job portals, says results of Bayt.com 2015 'Fresh Graduates in the Middle East and North Africa' survey, conducted by Bayt.com, a career site in the Middle East, and market research agency YouGov, has found that.
The majority of respondents said that finding a job is the biggest challenge of their generation; in line with this, 74 per cent are leaning towards entrepreneurship as a potential future career option.
The study has also revealed that 29 per cent of UAE respondents obtained their most recent qualification in the UAE, followed by India, at 28 per cent. The two most common fields of study pursued by respondents were engineering (28 per cent) and accounting/finance (21 per cent). Most graduates living in the UAE (74 per cent) were satisfied with the quality of higher education they received; in fact, 60 per cent consider the preparation it gave them for the workplace to be 'very good' or 'good'. Qualification of teachers (83 per cent), curriculum (74 per cent), teaching methods applied (71 per cent), quality of infrastructure (68 per cent), technology usage (66 per cent), and value for money paid (65 per cent), are also rated positively by UAE respondents.
A third of fresh graduates living in the UAE (34 per cent) do not feel that they would have fared better in the job market if they had chosen a different major or different school, with 66per cent admitting to having considered the job availability in the field they chose to major in prior to enrolment. In contrast, 29 per cent of working UAE respondents ended up working in a totally different industry.
Based on the survey, in the UAE, the most appealing industries from a career perspective are engineering and design (27 per cent) and banking and finance (25 per cent). Business consultancy, business management and management consulting (19 per cent) and oil, gas & petrochemicals (16 per cent) are also popular industries among UAE fresh graduates. Fortunately, three-quarters of respondents (75 per cent) claim that their education prepared them to target the industry of their choice.
For almost half of UAE respondents (48 per cent), the most important attribute when selecting a job is experience in the field they want to work in. While most UAE respondents (77 per cent) rely on leading online job sites to search for employment opportunities, direct applications to target companies (58 per cent) and a resourceful network of family and friends (56 per cent) are also highly valued and used.
Up to 44 per cent of fresh graduates living in the UAE state that landing their first job was/will be 'very difficult'. Most respondents (75per cent) feel that the biggest challenge they face in finding a job is the fact that employers are looking for candidates with previous experience. Knowing where to find relevant jobs and how to approach the job search effectively are also considered to be challenges by 38 per cent and 32 per cent of them, respectively.
17 per cent of UAE respondents claim that it took/ will take less than 3 months for them to find their first job. For 33 per cent of them, the job search lasted/ will last between 3 and 12 months, while only 6per cent got or are expecting to get a job directly through campus placements. A third of UAE respondents (33 per cent) stayed or anticipate staying in their first job for 1-2 years.
Salary expectations for fresh graduates living in the UAE are high; 23 per cent expect to receive/have received between $2001-3000, while 19 per cent anticipate a salary between $1,001-1,500. A large portion (86 per cent) of UAE respondents expect to be offered/were offered a basic salary. 52 per cent are also looking to receive/have received personal medical insurance and 41per cent anticipate both a housing and transport allowance. 40 per cent expect a personal annual air ticket.
According to 73 per cent of UAE respondents, their college or university did not help them identify job opportunities. Overall, 59 per cent of graduates living in the UAE acquired work experience either before or during their time at university.
The survey has revealed that 70 per cent of UAE respondents are planning to pursue higher education, with the UK (32 per cent) being the most popular destination to do so outside of their country of residence, followed by the US (30 per cent). Graduates are also eager to travel abroad for employment purposes, with 65 per cent saying that they might consider moving elsewhere for a job.
When asked what challenges fresh graduates face the most, 36 per cent disclosed that discovering what they wanted to do in life is difficult while 34 per cent said that saving money is a major challenge for them. 68 per cent claim that there is a low availability of jobs for fresh graduates in the UAE. However, 58 per cent are optimistic that their generation has better career and educational opportunities in comparison to their parents' generation.
When it comes to industries that seem to be hiring the highest number of fresh graduates, UAE respondents listed advertising/marketing (28 per cent), followed by banking/finance (21 per cent), and construction/property development (17per cent). According to 58 per cent of respondents, these industries employ fresh graduates because graduates have lower salary expectations; 33 per cent believe that the reason behind that is the fact that young graduates are compliant and willing to follow instructions.
On the other hand, 74per cent of respondents believe that companies are hesitant to hire fresh graduates because these graduates may lack the needed on-the-job experience.
54 per cent of fresh graduates living in the UAE consider communication skills to be among the most important skills required to excel in the workplace, followed by computer skills (48 per cent), and academic and technical skills (41per cent).
Fresh graduates in the UAE consider their skills in negotiation (51per cent), leadership (49per cent), linguistics (44per cent), communications (44per cent), problem-solving and analytical thinking (48per cent), academic and technical skills (59per cent), and computers (44per cent) to be 'good'. Moreover, they consider themselves to have 'very good' interpersonal and team playing skills (48per cent), and flexibility (46per cent).
"The 2015 Bayt.com Fresh Graduates in the Middle East and North Africa survey reveals that finding a job of their liking is proving difficult for fresh graduates in the UAE," said Suhail Masri, VP of Sales, Bayt.com.
Elissavet Vraka, research manager, YouGov MENA, echoed that statement, adding: "It is great to know that so many young graduates who are trying to find a job are also considering embarking on the entrepreneurial route in the future. Today, entrepreneurship plays a pivotal role in a country's economic development; it can spur growth, innovation, and, of course, job creation. And this can, in turn, help shape the future of employment here in the UAE."
Source: Khaleej Times