The poll "Online Education and the Job Market in the Middle East" conducted by Bayt.com, the Middle East's number one job site, revealed that although more people support online education today than five years ago, companies still prefer to hire graduates with traditional degrees.
Most respondents state that they support online education while only 14.8% are against it. The majority (69.9%) agree that online education is viewed in a more positive light today than it was five years ago, and 44.6% of respondents claim to have pursued an online certification. From those who have never enrolled in an online program, 39.3% state that they would be interested in a post-graduate program, and 23.4% would be interested in an undergraduate program. Only 17.4% would prefer a traditional education, while the remainder would be interested depending on the subject to be studied. Credibility of online degrees/courses, however, still remains an issue, according to 58.9% of respondents.
The poll results show that a mix of online and traditional classroom studies is the best type of education, according to 66.7% of respondents, with 82.2% believing that face-to-face schooling is the easier option.
Students who opt for the online route are seen by others to be more goal-orientated (12.2%); more organised (11.8%); more independent (11.1%); better at time management (10.9%); flexible by nature (5.9%); more motivated (5.1%) and more committed (3.7%). While 18.8% believe that those seeking online studies have all of the afore-mentioned traits, 20.4% believe that they have none of them.
"The world of online education is still clearly contested. However, it seems that opinions are gradually swaying towards the positive," said Suhail Masri, VP of Sales at Bayt.com.
"While it seems that people still worry about the credibility of online study programs, the overriding benefits and convenience of distance learning mean that online education is receiving wider acceptance across the region."
More than half of respondents (54.9%) say that their company will hire applicants with an online degree, though 61.9% will still prefer a new recruit with traditional qualifications. Of those who do get hired after partaking in an online education course, 43.7% join at entry-level, 41.5% at mid-career level, and 14.7% are hired for senior level positions.
Data for the Bayt.com "Online Education and the Job Market in the Middle East" poll was collected online from December 30, 2011 to January 30, 2012, with the participation of 9,677 respondents from Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, KSA and the UAE.