Participation at the Emirati Youth Forum has revealed that Emirati graduates fresh from university expect to rake in more than Dh20,000 as starting salary. And despite their high salary expectations, a large majority are hesitant to start their own business.

Over 100 Emirati university students from across the UAE took part in the annual Emirati Youth Forum at Tawdheef, which also revealed that 67 per cent of students believe it is a challenge to work for the private sector.
The statistics were announced at the UAE’s leading Emirati career fair in Abu Dhabi on Monday, and the majority of students said they would prefer working for the public sector than the private sector citing that the latter has less annual leave, long working hours and lower salaries as main reasons.

Better salaries, more benefits and international career options were voted amongst the factors that would encourage students to consider the private sector.

And work outline and lack of career progression were noted as the main reasons students look outside the public sector for work.

During the forum, students began with live polling sessions where they expressed their immediate priorities after graduation, expectations from the job market, and their recommendations for future employers.

As a result, it was revealed that gaps in private sector offerings and expectations remain the main challenge for Emiratisation in the country. Of the students who took part, only 20 per cent said they would be looking to start their own businesses right after graduation.

When asked about national service, Emirati male students said they have positive expectations about the impact it will have on their careers, with up to 38 per cent believing that it will help them adapt better to challenging work environments; 25 per cent said they believe it will help strengthen their professional skills, too.

In attendance at the event were a number of national role models who inspired the students by speaking of their journey outside of the public sector. Head of Corporate Communications at Abu Dhabi Investment Company Manar Mohammed bin Talib Al Hinai said he was honoured to be invited to the Emirati Youth Forum.

“When I was in university, it helped me a lot to hear about other people’s stories. We have all been in these young students’ shoes and we know how it feels when one needs guidance and we’re glad to be helping and giving back to the UAE community.”

The Emirati Youth Forum is a one of a kind event here in the UAE, and gathered over 100 Emirati students from across the nation’s top universities and academies to meet and interact with potential employers.