Emirati graduates choose government over private sector jobs

Posted on March 11, 2013

UAE graduates prefer to work for government organisations rather than UAE private sector firms and multinational companies, according to a research study conducted by online recruiting firm, GulfTalent.com, in association with ten leading universities in the UAE.

  • Higher salaries, more favourable conditions, greater job security and the opportunity to work with other Emiratis cited as main attractions of government jobs

  • Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala tops list of preferred employers

UAE graduates prefer to work for government organisations rather than UAE private sector firms and multinational companies, according to a research study conducted by online recruiting firm, GulfTalent.com, in association with ten leading universities in the UAE.

The study, entitled “Recruiting Top Emirati Graduates”, found that 86% of Emirati male graduates and 66% 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 4% of males and 10% 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.

The study shows that Abu Dhabi investment firm Mubadala is the employer of choice for the majority of graduates, followed by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), Masdar (also a subsidiary of Mubadala), Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) and Abu Dhabi Executive Council.

A significant number of graduates interviewed by GulfTalent.com 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 hence respected, according to the study. [Get full report]

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.

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.

Top 20 Most Popular Employers for Emirati Graduates

  1. Mubadala
  2. Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC)
  3. Masdar
  4. Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC)
  5. Abu Dhabi Executive Council
  6. Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA)
  7. Emirates Airline
  8. Abu Dhabi Media Zone Authority (twofour54)
  9. Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA)
  10. Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA)
  11. Ministry of Presidential Affairs
  12. Leo Burnett
  13. Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD)
  14. Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC)
  15. Musanada
  16. Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD)
  17. Al Ain City Municipality (AACM)
  18. Yahsat
  19. Dolphin Energy
  20. Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC)

Source: GulfTalent.com Survey of Emirati Graduates

When choosing specific organisations to join within the government sector, respondents cited a number of criteria as the basis of their selection. Some 72% 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%) and a good public image and reputation (43%) are also of high priority, they said.

As for salary expectations, male graduates said they expect to receive a minimum of Dhs 27,000 per month (including allowances) and Dhs 19,000 for females.

The study also reveals the importance of family in graduates’ career decisions. 94% 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 questions addressed by the study include the importance of job location on career decisions (most graduates prefer to work close to their home town) and graduates’ perceptions of employment criteria (relevant work experience and relevant major being seen as key). 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, the findings show.

Based on statistics from the UAE Labour Ministry, over 90% of the Emirati working population of 225,000 are employed in the public sector, with the rest working in the government or affiliated entities. The UAE private sector, despite employing over 4 million expatriates, is only home to 22,000 citizens.

According to recent media reports, the UAE government is studying a number of measures to make the private sector more attractive for Emiratis by bringing its benefits more into line with those in the public sector. These reportedly include subsidizing the salaries of citizens employed in the private sector, adjusting private sector working hours and days, as well as measures to boost job security for Emiratis in the private sector.

GulfTalent.com’s study aims to help companies evaluate and improve their approach to recruiting Emirati graduates. It was based on a survey of 112 UAE youth who were about to graduate from university or had recently graduated.

The full research report "Recruiting Top Emirati Graduates" is available for download from GulfTalent.com website free of charge. [Get full report]

The GulfTalent.com survey also revealed that Dubai’s share of regional recruitment activity has started to increase after two years of slowdown, due to a combination of jobs growth and churn.

In Bahrain, however, severe political tensions continue to negatively impact the job market. According to GulfTalent.com, only 8% of firms reported any new jobs being created last year, down from 23% in 2010.

The survey highlights that the oil and gas, healthcare and retail sectors are enjoying the largest headcount expansion, while banking and construction fare the worst.

UAE and Qatar remain prime destinations for expats

GulfTalent.com’s survey shows that the UAE and Qatar remain prime destinations for expatriates, with Saudi Arabia in third place. According to the survey findings, the UAE strengthened its position as the most popular destination among Gulf-based expatriates, with Dubai overwhelmingly remaining the most attractive city.

Qatar remained in second place in terms of popularity with expatriates. Hit by domestic unrest, Bahrain dropped from 4th place to become the Gulf’s least attractive destination for expatriates in 2011, behind Kuwait and Oman.

The study also shows that, as a result of Western countries facing high unemployment and low pay rises, employers in the Gulf are finding it easier to hire Western nationals rather than Asian candidates. However, according to interview findings, some employers are facing difficulty attracting Western candidates because they perceive the region to be unsafe, following widespread media coverage of the Arab Spring.

This year’s survey also highlights the fact that governments across the region are making the nationalisation of expatriate jobs a top priority and are embracing various schemes to do this. The survey noted that more innovative approaches are now being tried in some Gulf countries, introducing elements of choice, competition and commercial incentive.

Salaries remain stable - modest increase expected in 2012

Across the GCC, average private sector salary increase has remained stable but much lower than pre-recession levels, according to GulfTalent.com. Oman saw the highest salary increase in 2011 (6.5%) prompted in part by widespread strikes by Omani nationals and a pay hike awarded by the government to public sector employees. Saudi Arabia and Qatar saw increases of 6.0% and 5.6% respectively on the back of strong economic developments. The UAE experienced an average increase of 4.9%, while Bahrain had the region’s lowest salary increase, of only 4.5%.

However, real salary increases, consisting of average pay rise net of inflation, was highest in the UAE and Bahrain. In real terms, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait had the lowest salary increases.

Among job categories, human resource professionals enjoyed the highest pay rise, while administration and marketing were the lowest. Among sectors, healthcare and retail offered the highest pay rises, while real estate had the lowest.

In 2012, Gulf employers expect similar salary increases to last year, with Qatar leading the way.

GulfTalent.com’s research study was based on:

  • An online survey of candidates: 35,000 professionals aged between 22 to 60 years and earning annual incomes in the range USD 12,000 to USD 200,000

  • An online survey of employers: 2,100 employers based across the Gulf, employing between 50 and 20,000 employees each

  • Interviews with top managers: 60 executives and HR managers in the GCC across all industries

  • News and research: From press and macro-economic sources

The full research report "Employment and Salary Trends in the Gulf 2012" is available for download from GulfTalent.com website free of charge. [See full report ]

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Comments (2)

Ratheeshkumar Thanakappan Nair
STORE INCHARGE | UAE

Emirati graduates report - nice job

Posted on 16 Mar 2013

Asim
Accountant | Pakistan

Emirates graduates-good job

Posted on 24 Apr 2013

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