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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 20 August 2018

Engineering is most appealing career for UAE graduates, study shows

Finding a job is the biggest challenge for three-quarters of university leavers, says Bayt.com

Engineering, marketing and business consultancy are top choices for UAE university graduates, but three-quarters of them do not believe their education is preparing them for the jobs world, says Bayt.com study. Jeff Topping / The National
Engineering, marketing and business consultancy are top choices for UAE university graduates, but three-quarters of them do not believe their education is preparing them for the jobs world, says Bayt.com study. Jeff Topping / The National

Engineering, marketing and business consultancy are the most appealing careers for the UAE’s higher education graduates, but finding a job is the biggest challenge facing the majority of university leavers, according to a new study.

The Middle East and North Africa (Mena) is one of the most youthful regions in the world, with an estimated 60 per cent of the population under 25 years old. Therefore, there is a large number of fresh graduates seeking employment, according to the survey of 1,293 graduates across Mena by jobs website Bayt.com and research institute YouGov.

In the UAE, engineering and design was cited as the most appealing career choice for the graduates surveyed (28 per cent of respondents), followed by advertising, marketing and public relations for 25 per cent, business consultancy for 21 per cent, banking and finance for 17 per cent and IT for 12 per cent, Bayt.com said.

Across Mena, one in three respondents said they felt optimistic about their career prospects and the figure was slightly higher for UAE graduates. However, finding a job is still the biggest challenge faced by more than three-quarters (77 per cent) of UAE university leavers, followed by deciding what to do in life, for 44 per cent, and saving money, for 43 per cent.

While UAE graduates said they were “generally satisfied” with the education they received, many are finding it difficult to land their first role, according to the Bayt.com study. The main reasons for this are lack of previous work experience (59 per cent), and not knowing how to approach job searching effectively (41 per cent).

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Seven in 10 respondents from the UAE considered the availability of jobs in their field of study before deciding on their degree. Almost two-thirds (60 per cent) of the country's graduates said they acquired work experience during or before their time in college and university, and 43 per cent said they had one-to-six months’ experience. However, for 63 per cent of UAE respondents, their educational establishment did not help them identify or apply for a suitable position in the workplace, the report said.

“The recent survey suggests that, while graduates are getting a good and satisfactory education, they are facing serious challenges in their first job hunt,” said Kerry McLaren, head of Omnibus Mena, an education research programme, at YouGov.

“While academic performance is key, fresh graduates also need to rely on extrinsic skills development, work placement and search tools to connect with employers of choice and break into their industry.”

The survey was conducted online between 22 May and 28 June among respondents who had completed their most recent higher education qualification within in the last three years, Bayt.com said.

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