Finding work biggest challenge for UAE graduates
DUBAI // Finding work is the biggest challenge facing new graduates in the UAE, research has shown.
A Bayt.com and YouGov survey found that 72 per cent of fresh graduates said it was their biggest challenge, while 74 per cent were considering setting up their own business.
“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,” said Elissavet Vraka, research manager at YouGov Middle East and North Africa.
“Today, entrepreneurship plays a pivotal role in a country’s economic development. It can spur growth, innovation and, of course, job creation. This can, in turn, help to shape the future of employment here in the UAE.”
Three-quarters of respondents said they were satisfied with the quality of higher education in the UAE, with 60 per cent saying it had prepared them for the workplace.
However, the majority of the sample, 73 per cent, said their college or university did not help them to identify job opportunities.
This was despite more than half, 59 per cent, having had work experience either before or during their time at university, in part thanks to a rising numbers of universities making internships a mandatory component of studies.
When looking for their first job, 77 per cent of graduates used or planned to use online job sites. The most common subjects studied were engineering, at 28 per cent, and accounting and finance, 21 per cent.
Another factor was family and friends, with 56 per cent saying a close network was a vital tool in looking for work in the UAE, in addition to the likes of websites and direct applications to companies.
Inexperience, though seen as a hurdle by some respondents, was not a contributing factor to job search woes, despite 75 per cent of respondents saying it was the biggest challenge they faced.
“While most of these young job seekers firmly believe that their lack of experience is what is jeopardising their job search, results from our extensive research into the Mena region’s employment sector disagree with that assumption,” said Suhail Masri, vice president of sales at career website bayt.com.
“The truth is, employers in the UAE are increasingly tapping into the graduate talent pool. They are looking for capable individuals who can seamlessly transition from academia to industry, regardless of their level of experience.”
More than a quarter of respondents, 17 per cent, said it would take, or will take, less than three months to find their first job, with a further 33 per cent saying the search did - or would - take three to 12 months.
Respondents also said they anticipated staying in their first job for one to two years.
There was optimism amongst the sample, with 58 per cent saying their generation has better career and educational opportunities in comparison to their parents’ generation.
“For them to increase their eligibility, young job seekers need to focus on fine-tuning their transferable skills and leadership prowess, via hands-on internship experiences or specialised courses.”
Many of the graduates – 70 per cent – plan to continue their education, with the UK and US the most popular destinations.
Graduates are also eager to travel abroad for jobs, with two-thirds saying they might consider moving elsewhere for employment.
Updated: July 12, 2015 04:00 AM