According to a recent Fresh Graduates in the Middle East and North Africa Workplace survey conducted by Bayt.com, the region’s number one job site and YouGov, a research and consulting organisation, the internet is the most effective source for fresh graduates seeking employment. 74% of respondents claim to have received help from their university to either identify or apply for a job.
Amongst thesurvey respondents, 77% hold a Bachelor’s degree, and 45% had graduated during thethree months before taking the survey. The majority (72%) are unemployed, with only 19% currently in full-time positions while the remainder (8%) have taken up part-time work. Of those who are employed, 43% are in a professional or higher technical role that requires a degree-level qualification, while 19% are in middle or junior executive roles.
Two-thirds (66%) of the survey’s respondents are currently employed in their first role since graduation, with 41% stating that they were able to find a job within three months of graduating. One in five say that finding their first job took between three to six months.
“Only 8% state that they got a job directly through campus placements, which goes hand in hand with the 74% who say that they have had no job seeking help from their universities. This suggests that higher education establishments should be doing more to help their students find a job placement, to help cut down on unemployment,” said SuhailMasri, Bayt.com. “At Bayt.com, we undertake research to find out those matters that are most pressing in the recruitment field across the region. Our findings provide insight for the ways in which recruitment can be improved, from both the job seekers’ and employers’ perspective.”
Of those currently in their first job, more than half (54%) will stay for two years or less, with three in 10 (27%) stating that they ‘don’t know’ how long they will stay. For the respondents who have already had at least one job since graduating, the majority (59%) stayed for less than one year in their first employment role, with a further 22% leaving between one and two years.
This low level of commitment could be linked to the fact that only one in five graduates (20%) claim they are in the job they always wanted to do. While 41% claim their current position is ‘close to what they wanted to do’, 35% state that it is not their dream job. The most common reason given for this is that it is not the job they trained for or wanted (59%); not the industry or company they dreamed of joining (51%), or that it was the only job they were offered (46%).
Reasons for moving quickly on may also be a company not providing enough benefits. Graduates expect their employers to provide them with a bonus (40%), allowances for personal training and development (35%), and personal medical insurance (35%), as well as commission and/or incentives (30%) and more.
However, it may simply be the case that students are mostly unprepared to enter the working world, or that they are unprepared to work in an industry outside of the one they trained in. Half of the respondents claim to have done no work while at university (51% state no paid work, 50% no unpaid work). Eight out of 10 (82%) of respondents believe that their university prepared them for their industry of choice. However, with so few graduates in their ‘dream job’ role, it may be that more adaptability is required. Only 45% believe that their education has adequately prepared them for the realities of the workplace.
To find a new job, the survey’s respondents turn to the internet. When asked to rank job seeking resources in terms of effectiveness, 70% listed leading online job portals as their number one go-to. This was followed by company websites (67%); print media (65%); referrals (62%); social networking sites (55%); traditional recruitment companies (47%) and college placement centres (33%).
Despite not being highly ranked highly in effectiveness, four in 10 fresh graduates claim that referrals from family, friends and so on were most useful in finding their most recent job.
“The Arab world is famous for its community spirit, and referral-based hiring is a respected concept the world over. After all, at its core, a referral is a recommendation. In its best form, a referral is a high-quality lead and a high-probability prospect that is introduced to you by someone both you and the prospect regard highly,” said Masri. “With that in mind, Bayt.com devises a method to leverage the tight-knit communities in the region and the power of referrals to add a whole new innovative layer to online hiring. With a simple Facebook connection added on the Bayt.com infrastructure, jobseekers can opt to see which members of their networks work at the companies they're interested in, and then tap into the social layer for recommendations and referrals. We have also enabled referrals and recommendations on the actual online CV itself and facilitated this via our popular People platform.”
Of those respondents who have not yet found employment following graduation, the majority (64%) are unsure when they will land their first job, despite 33% stating that the majority of their friends have jobs.
In terms of future aspirations, seven out of ten graduates (68%) have entrepreneurial desires, with 43% of these being confident in their business idea. The majority (88%) wish to pursue further education.
“It is interesting that the majority of fresh graduates in the Middle East would like to be entrepreneurs,” said SundipChahal, CEO at YouGov. “No doubt, this is probably further fuelled by some frustration around their current roles, where the top three reasons for saying ‘this job is not what I wanted to do’ were “not the job I wanted/trained for” (59%), “not the company/industry I dreamed of joining” (51%) and “only job I was offered” (46%). Entrepreneurship offers fresh graduates the opportunity to explore the fields and work experiences that are not currently in large supply in the Middle East job market.”
Data for the Bayt.com “Fresh Graduates in the Middle East and North Africa Workplace”survey was collected from recent graduates aged over 18, from August 22 – September 17, 2012, with 3706respondents covering more than 12 countries in the MENA region.