47% of UAE Respondents Would Prefer to be Entrepreneurs
October 9th, 2013, YouGov

47% of UAE Respondents Would Prefer to be Entrepreneurs

Of those who choose to be employees, 54% would prefer to work in the private sector

‘Entrepreneurship in the Middle East’, a survey recently conducted by Bayt.com, the region’s number one job site, and YouGov, a research and consulting organization, has revealed that sentiments in the UAE are relatively torn over whether it is preferable to work for a company or be self-employed. Just less than half of respondents claim that, if given the choice, they would explore the possibilities of entrepreneurship – as opposed to the 48% who would choose to be employees. From that 48%, more than half (54%) would prefer to work in the private sector.

The top reasons UAE respondents want to work for a company, rather than be self-employed, are the chance to learn new skills and techniques (45%), the regular income offered by a salaried job (43%), and the benefits working for a company offers, such as medical insurance (34%).

For those in the UAE who would prefer to pursue an entrepreneurial career path, the number one reason is personal fulfilment (60%), followed by the freedom to choose their own work-life balance (53%) and the chance to be their own boss (42%).

More than half (53%) of the respondents who are currently employed in the public or private sector in the UAE are currently thinking of starting their own business, while 20% have tried to start one in the past but failed to do so.

A third of UAE respondents (33%) claim that it is ‘somewhat difficult’ to set up a new business in the UAE, with the unavailability of finance being the leading hindrance (64%) in doing so. Strict government rules and regulations (37%) are also seen as difficult to overcome.

The majority (54%) of UAE respondents, however, claim to know between 1-5 entrepreneurs, while a further 52% say that of the entrepreneurs they know, ‘a few’ are successful – 33% say that the majority of entrepreneurs they know have achieved success.

Four in 10 (42%) respondents in the UAE state that the best time to start your own business is mid-career, though 36% claim that ‘any time’ is the right time, with ‘don’t be afraid of failure’ considered by the majority (39%) to be the best advice to give to an entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurship is perceived as most successful in Oman (12% saying ’all’ and ’almost all’ entrepreneurs they know are successful), followed by Morocco and Tunisia (both 11%), and the UAE (10%).

In the UAE, the hospitality and leisure industry is seen to be the most appealing for entrepreneurship by 19%, followed by finance, insurance and real estate (14%), and, jointly with 13% each, advertising, marketing and public relations, and architecture and engineering.

When asked what they perceive to be the top three things that would concern them if they were to set up their own business, the majority of UAE respondents chose ‘procuring finances to start’ (62%), ‘uncertainty of profit and income’ (44%), and ‘needing to establish the ‘right’ contacts (or ‘wasta’)’ (36%).

UAE respondents agree that their education has helped them develop an entrepreneurial attitude (71%), acquire the necessary skills and know-how to become an entrepreneur and understand the role entrepreneurs play in society (68%), as well as made them interested in becoming an entrepreneur (64%).

Seven out of 10 (67%) UAE respondents believe that entrepreneurs think only of their own profit, while 69% believe that they create new products and services that benefit society. The majority (81%) state that entrepreneurs help in creating new jobs, and that they are opportunity-driven (83%).

“It would seem there are issues standing in the way of people becoming self-employed,” said Suhail Masri, VP of Sales, Bayt.com. “With finance being the number one problem across the Middle East, it suggests that the region needs more angel investors to step in and help local entrepreneurs; it might also be of benefit for authorities to reconsider their policies, as less stringent regulations could encourage the creation of more start-ups. At Bayt.com, not only do we provide a wealth of jobs and recruitment solutions to connect between people looking for jobs and business owners, but we also empower our members with access to live data regarding the employment and economic pulse of the region. Bayt.com has been helping start-ups recruit top calibers across industries and career levels since its inception in 2000 and our platform has been instrumental in facilitating and enabling recruitment activities for entrepreneurial ventures from start-up phase through to maturity across the MENA. ”

“It is in the interest of every Middle Eastern country to encourage more entrepreneurial ventures, as they are beneficial in myriad ways to the economy – they contribute to the GDP and create job opportunities,” said Sundip Chahal, CEO, YouGov. “This alone should be of special interest to the region’s governmental bodies, given the number of jobs that must be created to avoid mass unemployment of the younger generation in the coming years.”

Data for the Bayt.com Entrepreneurship in the Middle East survey was collected online from September 1 to 15 2013, with 8,776 respondents from UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia.