Special Features


UAE - An attractive destination for graduates to work and live

The UAE is an attractive destination for graduates to live and work, according to the inaugural Qudurat Student Wave study released by Aon Hewitt, the global talent, retirement and health solutions business of Aon plc (NYSE: AON), in partnership with Dubai International Academic City. Over 2,300 students, which included both UAE nationals and expatriates from 15 academic institutions in the UAE, took part in the research, making it one of the most comprehensive studies in the region.

72% of the students surveyed said they intended to stay and work in the UAE after graduating. One out of every two transnational expatriates individuals who specifically came to the UAE to pursue their higher education also said they would like to stay and work in the UAE.

The study is part of a pioneering research initiative known as Qudurat, meaning ’Capabilities’ in Arabic. It focuses on understanding the personal strengths, preferences and expectations of students with an emphasis on understanding what drives and motivates national talent in the world of work.

Other key findings from the study include:

· Even though the public sector emerged as the most popular avenue for employment for Emirati students with 53% of Emiratis opting for work in goovernment sector 7.6% of the Emirati students indicated that they would like to join the private sector. 32% preferred pursuing further studies and just 3.6% selected an entrepreneurial route.

· On the other hand, expatriate students largely preferred to pursue a career in the private sector.

· For Emirati students, career counsellors stood as the greatest source of career advice followed by their families.

· 68% of Emirati female students wanted to work upon graduation, with only 3% wanting to become a homemaker.

· Emirati students preferred to find work in management and support function roles, such as marketing, HR or administration, over more technical fields such as medicine, engineering and banking.

· Emirati students chose pay and benefits as the most important criteria for selecting their job closely followed by personal convenience and growth opportunities. For expatriate students, the growth opportunities available to them emerged as the single most important criteria for selecting a job.

· Overall, student expectations for growth in their careers are high. 45% of students expected to be a departmental head in the next 10 years and 11% expected to be a CEO.

· When considering what should determine pay, expatriate students expected to be differentiated based on the quality of their experience on the job, whereas Emirati students expected their academic qualifications to be the key driver.

The survey findings were officially revealed during an event hosted by Aon Hewitt and DIAC. The panel discussion was attended by; Dr. Ayoub Kazim, Managing Director of TECOM Investments’ Education Cluster; Dr. Markus Wiesner, CEO of Aon Hewitt Middle East; Dr. R.K Mittal, Director of Dubai Campus, BITS Pilani University and Ms. Iman Al Qasim, Deputy Vice President, Human Resources & Administration, Dolphin Energy.

Commenting on the findings, Dr Ayoub Kazim, Managing Director of TECOM’s Education Cluster, which includes Dubai Knowledge Village and Dubai International Academic City, said: “We are committed to building a skilled and competitive future UAE workforce by offering students quality higher education that is tailored to the needs of industries and the economy. Armed with the information in this survey, DIAC can continue to customise its offering to better prepare students for the unique workplace challenges typical to this region.

“This study will be valuable to governmental institutions, private sector organisations, academic institutions, and other stakeholders looking to advance the UAE’s future talent pool in diverse capacities.”

Dr. Markus Wiesner, CEO, Aon Hewitt Middle East, said: “The Middle East is a unique labour market policy makers, business leaders and HR professionals must ‘localize’ their strategy and approach to work within this context. The findings from the study will help employers understand the key engagement drivers for the new generation of national and expatriate talent entering the workforce and help derive an attractive value proposition to recruit, retain and engage university graduates in the future”.

Findings from the Qudurat Student Wave study highlights that organisations and academia will need to make concerted efforts to forge strong and collaborative partnerships, and seek coordinated solutions in preparing students to face upcoming challenges at the workplace.



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