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Emirati graduates expect to earn 300% more than UAE expats

Emirati graduates expect to earn 300% more than UAE expats

Emirates and Unilever ranked among the most popular employers for students

Emirati graduates expect to earn an average of three times more than UAE-based expatriates in their first job, according to a new report.

In a survey of 300 recent graduates and final-year students at the American University of Sharjah, Gulf Talent found different salary expectations, preferred employers and priorities for expats and Emiratis when it came to entering the workforce.

Among them, a significant favouring for multinational firms among expats (91 per cent) compared to a preference for government roles by Emiratis (63 per cent). UAE private sector firms were the least preferred options for both group.

Significantly more Emiratis (33 per cent) were also found to have already secured a job offer compared to their expat peers (18 per cent).

The average salary expectation for Emiratis was Dhs27,000 a month, compared to Dhs9,000 for expats.

In the wider survey, respondents ranked Dubai’s Emirates Group as their number one preferred employer, followed by multinational consumer good firm Unilever, local retail firm Chalhoub Group, US firm General Electric and Swiss food and drink group Nestlé.

Top 20 most popular employers for graduates in UAE

1 Emirates Group
2 Unilever
3 Chalhoub Group
4 General Electric
5 Nestlé
6 ADNOC
7 Petrofac
8 PwC
9 Procter & Gamble
10 Etihad
Source: GulfTalent Survey

Among Emirati participants state-owned oil firm ADNOC was the most popular employer, followed by Abu Dhabi investment firm Mubadala and telco Etisalat. Dubai Water and Electricity Authority and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority completed the top five.

Graduates said their key top three attractions to company were opportunities to do interesting and challenging work (23 per cent), the quality of training and development programmes (20 per cent) and a good brand and reputation (17 per cent).

Good salary and benefits and a clear path of progression were cited by 10 per cent and 8 per cent of candidates respectively, while the chance to live and work abroad, flexible hours, work culture and job security attracted 5 per cent each.

An Islamic work environment was considered the least important factor for graduates and was cited by just 1 per cent of respondents.

One in two graduates were found to value overseas experience and were drawn to employers that offered this opportunity, with the US, followed by the UK and Canada the most popular options.

Experience was cited as a key factor in finding a job, with expats suggesting an entry level position was very challenging to obtain without one to two years of work behind them.

In contrast, Emiratis believed command of the English language was a more important factor in securing employment.

Overall, 67 per cent of respondents said they wanted to start a job after graduation, compared to 27 per cent that wanted to continue their studies, 2 per cent who wanted to join the family business and 4 per cent that aimed to start their own.

The survey group compared 303 students of which 50 per cent were studying engineering, 38 per cent business, 8 per cent natural science and 4 per cent humanities.

More than half (57 per cent) were Arab expats, 19 per cent were Asian expats, 12 per cent were Emiratis, 7 per cent Western expats and 5 per cent other nationalities.

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