By Staff writer
More than two-thirds of young Arabs said to prefer gov't roles despite initiatives to encourage more into private sector
More than two-thirds of young national Arabs in the Gulf states still hope to land jobs with government, despite initiatives to encourage them to seek out careers in the private sector.
This new finding from the eighth annual ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey was unveiled at the Global Islamic Economy Summit, which was held in Dubai this week.
Across the whole Arab world, half (50 percent) of young people said they would prefer a government job to private sector work while this preference rises to 70 percent across Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman.
When asked what would entice them to work in the private sector, more than half of all young Arabs surveyed cited higher wages (51 percent), followed by better healthcare and other benefits (35 percent), more paid holidays (29 percent) and shorter working hours (27 percent).
In the GCC, where governments have traditionally employed the majority of the national workforce, only 15 percent of young people said they would prefer to work in the private sector.
“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.
“New initiatives and policies, such as Saudi’s Vision 2030, the removal of subsidies on fuel and introduction of VAT across the Gulf, show that governments are serious about new economic realities,” he added.
Elsewhere in the Arab World, views towards public sector employment differ markedly. In the Levant, young people are almost evenly split between preference for the public and private sectors while in North Africa, 47 percent of young nationals would opt for the public sector with 26 percent for private.
What is new about this survey? What has it told us that we did not already know? This has been the case for a decade or more and no amount of surveys will change it. Action is needed to create parity between the Government and Private sectors but that will never happen as it will mean reducing government benefits since the commercial pressures on the private sector mean it can never hope to match what the government offers today.