Complex Made Simple

5 reasons UAE is a top job market for youth

UAE has been ranked as the most preferred emerging job market for young people

Job prospects and career advancement top reasons for ranking

Presence of ‘start-up ecosystem’ also very important for youth


The UAE has been ranked as the most preferred emerging market for young people on the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Annual Survey 2016.

What makes the country’s job market so preferable?


(UAE most popular job market for millennials, again)

UAE job market has great prospects

In the survey, only one in ten of the UAE respondents said they see unemployment as a serious issue. This is as opposed to 34 per cent of millennials globally, who identified lack of economic opportunity and employment as one of the three most serious issues affecting their country.


Salary and career advancement

Another reason for the success of the UAE may be that, globally, more millennials value salary (54 per cent) and career advancement (46 per cent). These are criteria for which the UAE job market is typically well regarded.

The survey results show that millennials value salary and career over a sense of purpose and impact on society (37 per cent) in their job.


(7 ways to stop employees from quitting)

MENA optimistic

As a whole, MENA respondents were among the most optimistic about the future impact of technology on jobs. And this is another factor that may explain the attractiveness of countries in the region, including the UAE.

Ninety per cent of MENA respondents said they believe that technology is more likely to create than destroy jobs in the future. This number is beaten only by China (96 per cent) and the wider East Asia and Pacific region (93 per cent), where more millennials believe that technology will create jobs in the future.


Start-up ecosystem

Young people in the MENA region said they see the presence of a start-up ecosystem and entrepreneurship (50 per cent) as “most important” for youth empowerment.

A fair and just system (36 per cent) came second and free (social) media third (33 per cent). Transparency in governance (27 per cent) and opportunities in politics (25 per cent), topics that surfaced in the region during the Arab Spring, fell off the podium.

On the flip side, young people in MENA are the least enthusiastic among youth globally about a career in the public sector. Twice as many respondents said they see a job in public service to be very unattractive (25 per cent vs ten per cent).

The only region with comparable results was sub-Saharan Africa. In East Asia (mostly China), a majority of respondents said they see the service sector as attractive (56 per cent). In South Asia (including India), the figure was 50 per cent; in North America (including the US) 41 per cent; in Europe 39 per cent; and in MENA only 34 per cent.


(Why do 70 per cent of employees quit?)

Independence rides high

MENA is also the region where most youth prefer to be independent workers or entrepreneurs: more than one-third of MENA youth (37 per cent) said they would rather work for themselves. In all other regions, that number is closer to one-quarter or even one-fifth. In countries like India and China, youth prefer to work for a multinational company.