How to Find Your First Job in the Middle East: A Step-by-Step Guide

Published May 22nd, 2017 - 03:28 GMT
Step 1: Focus on what the employer needs. (File photo)
Step 1: Focus on what the employer needs. (File photo)

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is one of the most youthful regions in the world. With so many young job seekers and recent graduates competing for entry level jobs, securing an early-career position is a challenge that many people must deal with. How does the MENA job market look like for entry level candidates? Are they able to find career opportunities after they graduate? And what type of support do they need?

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On order to get on-the-ground insights about the job market for young professionals and fresh graduates in the MENA, conducted a poll titled “Finding Your First Job in the Middle East and North Africa” in which more than six in 10 respondents claimed that they can find “entry level jobs for their educational background.” The survey polled 7,571 job seekers from the MENA region.

Furthermore, half of the respondents from across the MENA region claim that entry level jobs are “widely available in the Middle East,” while 18% of respondents were neutral in response to this statement.

When it comes to the availability of jobs by sector, almost half of respondents claimed that “it is easier to obtain an entry level job in the Private Sector” than the Public Sector, while finding a job at Non-governmental Agencies (NGOs) ranked third.


However, over one in five respondents claimed that there is no difference between sectors when it comes to obtaining an entry level position.

Online job sites emerged as the most popular method for finding entry level jobs in the MENA region. 78.5% of job seekers use online job sites along with other channels to look for jobs and almost a quarter use online job sites exclusively. Online job sites were followed by social media, company websites, newspapers, and personal networks (1.9%). More respondents agree that online job sites are “effective for finding entry level jobs.”

On the other end of the spectrum, many young job seekers and professionals face some challenges. What are they?

For young job seekers and fresh graduates, the greatest challenge for getting their career started is the high competition. 68% of polled job seekers agree that “competition is higher for entry level jobs.”

The second challenge is the lack of career support from universities and schools. Nearly three quarters of respondents claimed that they do not (or “did not” – if they’ve already graduated) receive career support from their university.


When it comes to salaries, 30.6% of respondents agree that entry level jobs are “paid well in the Middle East” and 19.6% were neutral. While nearly half of respondents disagree with that statement, it is also worth noting that only 17.4% of job seekers value having a “high salary” the most in an entry level job. 42.5% of respondents look for “opportunities for career growth,” 21.9% look for “experience relevant to their education,” and 18.2% look for “reputable company / positive work culture.

Here are some tips from the experts that will help with your job search:-


By Saif Haddad 

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