Marketing, banking, and defense emerge as top 3 industries hiring fresh graduates in MENA
Posted on 2020 Aug,18

The 2020 'Fresh Graduates in the Middle East and North Africa' survey, conducted recently by, the Middle East's #1 job site, and YouGov, global online market research company, has found that three in five respondents used or planned to use leading online job sites to find their first job. Moreover, nearly 8 in 10 MENA graduates (77%) say that their education has prepared them for finding a job in their industry of choice.

The Role of Higher Education

Across the MENA region, engineering and business/commerce/economics were the most popular subjects amongst fresh graduates (17% each), followed by accounting/finance (14%) and information technology/computer sciences (10%). Nearly 9 in 10 respondents appear to be satisfied with the quality of higher education they received (88%), with 43% stating that they are ‘very’ satisfied.

More than a third of MENA graduates said that their college helped them identify or apply for a suitable job in a number of ways including: job announcements (36%), help with CV and cover letter writing (33%) and career fairs (30%).

About 3 in 5 of current employees work in their field of study, with 42% being employed full time and 19% part time. Fresh graduates are also eager to travel abroad for employment purposes; 59% of the respondents would consider relocating for employment purposes.

Jobs for Fresh Graduates

Most MENA graduates (44%) feel that the biggest challenge they face when searching for a job is lack of previous work experience. Not knowing how to approach the job search effectively (42%) is also considered an obstacle.

That said, about two-thirds of MENA graduates said they acquired work experience during or before their time in college, with 41% stating they had worked for a period of up to six months.

The nature of the job/being passionate about the job emerges as the single most important factor for respondents when selecting a job. Nearly three-quarters of fresh graduates expect to be offered a basic salary for their first job and 45% expect to get personal medical insurance.

When asked what they will do if they do not find a job in their exact target job role/industry, more than half (52%) of the fresh graduates said they will keep looking until they do, while 27% said they will start looking into another role/industry.

"The 2020 Fresh Graduates in the MENA survey reveals that while most fresh graduates believe that their lack of experience is jeopardizing their job search, employers in the region are increasingly tapping into the graduate talent pool,” said Ola Haddad, Director of Human Resources at “ offers numerous entry-level jobs and internships, as well as information about the job market, with an aim to empower the youth and ensure that they are making sound decisions when it comes to their future career paths.”

Most Attractive Industries and Skills in Demand

In the MENA region, banking/finance (22%) and business consultancy (20%) emerge as the most appealing industries for fresh graduates from a career point of view, followed by advertising/marketing/public relations (17%) and education/academia (16%).

When it comes to industries that seem to be hiring the highest number of fresh graduates, MENA respondents listed advertising/marketing/public relations (21%), banking/finance (20%) and military/defense/police (19%).

According to 41% of respondents, some industries employ fresh graduates because graduates have lower salary expectations; 35% believe that the reason behind that is the fact that young graduates are compliant and willing to follow instructions.

In terms of skills required to excel in the workplace, respondents mentioned computer skills (58%) as most important, followed by interpersonal/team skills (38%) and linguistic skills (37%). In terms of their own personal skills, respondents consider their interpersonal/team playing skills (93%), communication skills (92%), flexibility/adaptability to change (91%), computer (89%), and analytical/problem-solving skills (87%), to be ‘good’ or ‘very good’.

Zafar Shah, Research Director, Data Services at YouGov said: “The 2020 Fresh Graduates in the MENA survey shows that more and more employers are opening their doors to fresh graduates, presenting a significant shift in what employers need in this increasingly digital world. Our research reflects the preference of employers in hiring candidates who have already developed interpersonal and technological proficiencies despite being new to the workforce. And this can, in turn, help shape the future of employment across the MENA region."

Data for the 2020 Fresh Graduates in the MENA survey was collected online from June 9 - 28, 2020. Results are based on a sample of 1,031 respondents from the following countries: UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Palestine, Syria, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Sudan, and others.