UAE, 16 Sep 2005
To Saudi graduates seeking jobs abroad prefer the United Arab Emirates over every other country in the world, including the US, UK and Canada, according to a study recently carried out by GulfTalent the Dubai-based online recruiting agency.
The report, entitled "Recruiting Top Graduates in Saudi Arabia" was based on a survey of recent graduates of the prestigious King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (KFUPM), Saudi Arabia's leading university and academic institution. 54% of the graduates surveyed expressed interest in working for at least a few years outside their home country and the largest number of these chose the UAE as the best place to work. The United States, Canada and Britain came second, third and fourth respectively.
Saudi graduates cited a number of key factors that made the UAE the most desirable place to work, including the close proximity of UAE to their home, the mix of Arab and Muslim tradition with open cosmopolitan atmosphere and the fact that most multinationals are headquartered in Dubai.
Graduates also cited the current political situation in the West as a disincentive to seek work in the US.
"UAE is an Islamic country and very near to Saudi Arabia." said 23-year-old Suhail from Jeddah, a management information systems grad.
"The UAE is home to many industries and I can visit my family on the weekends. I might have been interested in working in the US but now it is a less attractive option because of all the anti-Arab sentiment that has built up." he added.
Yazeed, a 25-year-old architecture graduate from Mainah said "I would like to work in Dubai, which is "a city of the world", open to all nationalities. Yet it is close to Saudi Arabia. It is an Arab and Islamic city. There are so many things that connect the UAE with Saudi Arabia.
The heavy presence of multinationals in Dubai was a major attraction for aspiring graduates. Mohamed, a 24-year-old graduate in marketing from Damman, said, "My major was marketing and the best job opportunities for marketing professionals are with multinational consumer goods companies. The top companies in this sector mostly have their regional headquarters in Dubai, so the UAE is really the best place for someone with my educational background to go to get experience and start a career."
Commenting on the survey results, a spokesperson for GulfTalent who led the study said: "Our research shows that many top Saudi graduates prefer the challenge and learning opportunity of working with international companies in a multicultural environment over the comfort of secure and well-paid government jobs. With Dubai now the commercial hub of the region where most major multinationals are headquartered, it is an attractive choice for young, qualified school leavers looking for experience."
He further added that because Saudi Arabia is the largest economy in the region, and the prime target for the Dubai-based multinationals, qualified Saudi graduates were much sought after.
"There is a growing awareness among multinational companies that they need to build a strong talent base of Saudi nationals who understand and can effectively communicate with this large and very challenging market." he added.