Emirati graduates prefer government jobs

UAE, 11 Mar 2013

DUBAI - There's nothing surprising about the findings of a recent survey which reiterates the career choices of UAE graduates who prefer to work for government organisations rather than UAE private sector firms.

In association with ten leading universities in the UAE, online recruiting firm GulfTalent conducted the research study titled ‘Recruiting Top Emirati Graduates', and found that 86 per cent of Emirati male graduates and 66 per cent of females prefer to work in the government sector after graduation.

Multinationals were second in popularity, with UAE private sector firms being the last choice, preferred by just four per cent of males and 10 per cent of females.

Respondents cited higher salary and benefits, better working conditions and greater job security as the main reasons for the appeal of the government sector employment.

A significant number of graduates interviewed by GulfTalent said that they were attracted by the prospect of working with other Emiratis. While they were open to working with other cultures and nationalities, many felt more comfortable in a predominantly Emirati workplace, where they shared common habits and where they could be sure that their culture and values were fully understood and respected.

Among Emirati females, some were keen to work in organisations with separate sections for women, either due to their own preference or out of respect for the concerns of their families.

When choosing specific organisations to join within the government sector, respondents cited a number of criteria as the basis of their selection. Some 72 per cent of graduates said a challenging and interesting work environment is the most important factor when selecting their employer, according to the study. Good training and development (53 per cent) and a good public image and reputation (43 per cent) are also of high priority, they said.

As for salary expectations, male graduates said they expect to receive a minimum of Dh27,000 per month (including allowances) and Dh19,000 for females.

The study also reveals the importance of family in graduates' career decisions. 94 per cent of females said the family had a role in their decision, which can range from giving advice only, to the family actually making the career decision.

A family's decision is largely determined by the public image of the company as well as people they know within the company, the findings show.

Other findings highlighted that most graduates prefer to work close to their home town, and around one-quarter of graduates believe personal connections (Wasta) to be a key factor in the employers' recruitment process and feel it helps to know someone already working for the company to which they are applying.

Based on statistics from the UAE Labour Ministry, over 90 per cent of the Emirati working population of 225,000 are employed in the public sector, with the rest working in the government or affiliated entities.