Lebanon professionals prefer to be self-employed
Posted on 2021 Nov,28


The Entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa survey, conducted recently by Bayt.com, the renowned Middle East job site, and market research agency YouGov, has found that 7 in 10 (70%) of Lebanon professionals prefer to be self-employed/have their own business if given the choice.

The survey found that even among those who are employed, 61% are currently thinking of starting their own business, 21% of respondents have tried to start their own business in the past, while only 13% never thought of starting their own business.

Freedom to choose work-life balance (54%) and personal fulfillment (47%) emerge as the top reasons for preferring to be self-employed. This is followed by being their own boss (44%) and high monetary gains (37%).

Those who have already started their business seem to have similar reasoning. When asked about the reasons MENA professionals have for starting their own business, the top three answers were: ‘wanted more income’ (37%), ‘greater independence in what I want to achieve’ (32%), and ‘wanted to do what I love’ (24%).

On the other hand, 19% of Lebanon professionals claimed they would prefer to seek employment in a company. The main reasons for their preference are: having regular income (55%), learning new skills (42%) and lack of finances to start own business (35%).

Ola Haddad, Director of Human Resources at Bayt.com said: “Despite last year’s challenges, it's inspiring to see MENA entrepreneurs determined to work their way back to recovery and success. At the heart of entrepreneurism is the ability to adapt and move forward. Our new survey shows that budding entrepreneurs, small companies and startups are demonstrating perseverance and resiliency as they plan for today and for their future."


Lebanon Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Entrepreneurship continues to be a growing trend in Lebanon. Despite the given challenges of setting up a business, our research indicates that entrepreneurship has become more popular than ever before. Many entrepreneurs are looking to grow their startups and establish business. 

Over a third (38%) of MENA respondents have personal ambitions to grow their business further in their country of residence, followed by 27% who aim to become a major international group and 19% who aim to become an important regional player. In fact, with growth in mind, 53% of Lebanon respondents are planning to hire for their business in the next year.

Out of those who are self-employed in the MENA region, 65% took the first step to establish their business in the last 5 years. 46% of Lebanon respondents mentioned that starting a business can be done any time while 25% consider the best time to be mid-career.

When it comes to the current stage of their business, 33% of the self-employed are at the startup stage of the business, while 26% claim that their business is established but not performing well. On the other hand, 21% say their business is well established and performing well.

The top concern of Lebanon respondents while setting up their own business, would be procuring finances to start (66%) and the uncertainty of profit/ income (42%).

The most appealing industries for entrepreneurship in Lebanon are considered to be Manufacturing (12%), followed by IT/ Internet/ E-commerce (10%), Commerce/ Trade/ Retail (8%), and Consumer Goods/ FMCG (8%).


Mentoring and Support

The survey shows even greater benefits of entrepreneurship for societies and the economy. The perceived image of entrepreneurs in the region is very positive – Lebanon respondents perceive entrepreneurs to be opportunity-driven (85%) and they help in creating new jobs (89%).

The best pieces of advice offered to budding entrepreneurs by respondents in the MENA region is to not be afraid of failure (44%). Over a quarter of respondents believe that innovation is the key to success as an entrepreneur (28%), followed by employing the right people (24%) and access to funding (21%).

Zafar Shah, Research Director at YouGov said: “Positive business sentiment is common across MENA countries and sectors, while entrepreneurs continue to anticipate healthy growth. The results of our survey with Bayt.com show that last year’s challenges may lead to a new wave of entrepreneurs and small businesses and it's that spirit of innovation that can help strengthen economies and facilitate recovery.”

Data for the Entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa survey was collected online from 22nd September to 17th October 2021. Results are based on a sample of 3,613 respondents from the following countries: UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Sudan among others.