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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 08/04/2014
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(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Arab youth survey reveals unemployment woes strong in non-gcc countries

Rising cost of living concerns over the state of the national economy and corruption in government and public life are the biggest challenges that the middle east is facing according to the youth in the region. the 6th annual arab youth survey which was commissioned by asda’a burson-marsteller reveals that youngsters in the region are confident in their national governments’ ability to deal with a wide range of issues.

Sunil john; joseph ghossoub chairman and ceo of menacom group; don baer; jeremy galbraith ceo of burson-marsteller europe middle east and africa; and jay leveton announcing the findings of the 6th annual arab youth survey in dubai on monday. — kt photo by juidin bernarrd

International polling firm penn schoen berland (psb) conducted the survey and about 3500 arab nationals aged between 18 and 24 in 16 countries in the middle east and north africa participated.

Rising costs

One of the key findings of the survey is that a growing number of the arab youth is embracing modern values while family friends and religion continue to shape their opinions and influence their lives.

Mohammed lauds ‘entrepreneurial spirit’

After the results of the 6th arab youth survey were released on monday his highness shaikh mohammed bin rashid al maktoum vice-president and prime minister of the uae and ruler of dubai lauded the “growing entrepreneurial spirit of the arab youth” in a series of tweets.

“glad to see the growing entrepreneurial spirit of the arab youth as 67 per cent feel they are more likely to start a business than previous generations. the survey covering 16 arab countries showed that the uae youth are the most optimistic. positivity has become an integral part of our identity.

“i have strong faith in the great potential of our arab youth and their ability to transform the future of this region one day” tweeted shaikh mohammed.


Interestingly arab youth cite the rising cost of living as their biggest concern as inflationary pressures rise across the region increasing the need for government stimulus. across the 16 countries polled more than three in five (63 per cent) are concerned about rising living costs.

Majeed kazim a student based in dubai told khaleej times in a twitter conversation: “this part of the survey makes sense. because things are politically unstable in the region state of financial affairs is a concern. i think youngsters find the uae very secure though.”

The survey pointed out that the youth are more concerned about the rising cost of living than they are about their national economy opportunities for women and the threat of terrorism.

Concern about unemployment is strongest in the non-gcc countries where governments are struggling to provide jobs for their growing populations with 55 per cent citing it as their biggest concern. though still high at 39 per cent youth in the gulf are less concerned about this than their counterparts in the rest of the arab world.

Entrepreneurship over jobs

Following decades of reliance on the public sector for employment more youth are keen to start their own company with 67 per cent agreeing that people of this generation are more likely to start a business than in previous ones. the split is fairly equal across the arab world with 66 per cent from the gcc countries and 68 per cent from non-gcc countries.

Top 10 findings

> a growing number of arab youth is embracing modern values while family friends and religion continue to shape their opinions and influence their lives.

> youngsters are confident in their national 
governments’ ability to deal with a wide range of issues. confidence in the long-term impact of the arab spring 
is dropping.

> rising living costs and unemployment are the biggest concerns for youth across the middle east.

> arab youth believe that civil unrest is the biggest obstacle facing the region.

> entrepreneurial spirit is high and a growing number of young arabs would like to work in the private sector.

> the uae is the country that most arab youth would like to live in and is seen as a model for their country to emulate.

> arab youth consider their country’s biggest allies to be regional neighbours such as saudi arabia and the uae rather than traditional western countries.

> arab youth are increasingly concerned about obesity and lifestyle diseases and do not believe that healthcare in their country is improving.

> an overwhelming majority of young arabs believe they are entitled to subsidised energy costs while concern about climate change is low across the region.

> television is the most popular source of news for the sixth year running but a growing number of young arabs are turning to online and social networks to get their news

Don baer worldwide chair and ceo of burson-marsteller and chairman of pbs said: “the survey has the power to challenge stereotypes about an often misunderstood region and demographic. in volatile times the power of data must not be misunderstood.”


Speaking about the methodology of the survey sunil john chief executive officer of asda’a burson-marsteller said: “the survey is extensive and each of the interviews with the 3500 respondents were held on a face-to-face basis.

“in the uae for example 40 per cent of the demographics came from abu dhabi and dubai and 20 per cent from sharjah. also 50 per cent of the respondents were male and the rest female.” only nationals of each country were interviewed; expatriate opinion was not taken.

Jay leveton the ceo of psb said: “we did not work with any university or technical colleges the members were randomly picked by the agencies across the 10 countries.”



Khaleej Times

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