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70% of young Gulf Arabs prefer public sector work

70% of young Gulf Arabs prefer public sector work

The Arab Youth Survey findings reveal Gulf nationals still strongly prefer government roles despite efforts in the private sector

More than two-thirds of young Arab nationals in the Gulf still hope to obtain a public sector job despite government efforts to encourage private sector participation, according to a new report.

The eighth ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey found that half of young people would prefer a government job to private sector work.

However, this rose to 70 per cent in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait, with only 15 per cent saying they would prefer to work in the private. The remaining 14 per cent had no preference and 1 per cent did not know.

More than half (51 per cent) of young Arabs participating in the survey said higher wages would encourage them to work in the private sector.

This was followed was better healthcare and other benefits (35 per cent, more paid holiday (29 per cent) and shorter working hours (27 per cent).

“Persuading young people to take on roles in the private sector is essential to creating a strong, sustainable economy,” said Sunil John, CEO of ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller.

“These findings show that despite ongoing efforts to make the private sector more appealing to young Gulf Arabs, the message isn’t getting through as fast as governments – or the private sector –would like.”

He suggested balancing young nationals’ expectations about public sector work with the realities of the private sector would require more effort.

The findings follow a similar trend noted in a survey of expat and Emirati students released by Gulf Talent last month.

Read: Emirati graduates expect to earn 300% more than UAE expats

In the wider Arab Youth Survey, views towards the private sector differed significantly.

In the Levant, 28 per cent of respondents said they would prefer work in the public sector compared to 30 per cent in the private sector. The majority (37 per cent) had no preference and 4 per cent didn’t’ know.

Elsewhere, 47 per cent of North African respondents preferred the public sector, 26 per cent the private sector, 20 per cent had no preference and 8 per cent didn’t know.

An additional survey revealed 58 per cent of young Arabs wanted to pursue further education at university of via vocational training.

Split regionally, 73 per cent intended to further their education in North Africa, 61 per cent in the GCC and 41 per cent in the Levant

Those not seeking further education in the Levant cited high costs (40 per cent) as the main reason. Those in North Africa cited teaching standards (19 per cent) and Gulf Arabs an eagerness to get on with their careers (61 per cent).

For the survey, polling firm Penn Schoen conducted 3,500 face-to-face interview with Arab men and women aged 18-24 in January and February this year.

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