Arab Youth Survey 2019: young people expect governments to provide jobs

The Arab Youth Survey results showed a large reliance among young people on their governments

A careers fair in the UAE hoping to encourage Emiratis into employment with local companies. Reem Mohammed / The National
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Young Arabs in the GCC feel that it is the responsibility of their governments to provide them with jobs and housing, new research has found.

The Arab Youth Survey 2019, which was released on Tuesday, is conducted annually by the Middle's East's largest PR firm, Asda'a BCW in Dubai.

It asked 3,300 respondents across the Middle East and North Africa a range of questions on topics such as religion, drug use and the government's role in society.

In what could be regarded as a blow to the UAE, which has been working to encourage more citizens to seek private sector roles and be less reliant on the government, the large majority of young people in the GCC – 82 per cent – said they see the providing of jobs for everyone as a government role.

Last month, the UAE government equalised the number of public holidays between the public and private sectors. It is the latest move in long-standing and ongoing efforts to encourage more Emiratis to join private companies, with longer holidays in the public sector previously considered one of the main attractions of the public sector, as well as generous salaries.

Attitudes seemed to be in favour of governments continuing to play a strong role across most sectors. Survey respondents also said that they see it as part of the government's role to provide health care, education, security and energy subsidies.

Just over three quarters of respondents in the GCC (77 per cent) said their governments should provide housing and more than a third (36 per cent) said it was their duty to provide financial debt repayment for all citizens.

The results were broadly similar across the Arab region, with the only significant difference coming from the Levant – which includes Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories – where a minority of 38 per cent said it was the government’s duty to provide housing and just 20 per cent said the government should provide financial debt repayment.

A cause of concern among young Arabs across the region is education, with 78 per cent saying they are worried about the quality of the education available in the region. In the GCC, the figure stood a little lower at 70 per cent.

These fears may explain why so many students choose to study abroad. Just over half (53 per cent) across the region and 38 per cent locally said they would like to study in a western country, but almost half of respondents in the GCC said they would prefer to study in their own country.

Sixty-two per cent and 58 per cent of young people in the Levant and North Africa – which covers Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia – said they wanted to study in the West, respectively.

The majority of young people in the GCC said they were also satisfied with their government’s efforts to prepare students for jobs of the future; however, it was a cause for concern in North Africa and the Levant.