Over 6 in 10 of UAE professionals prefer to be self-employed, finds survey

Over 6 in 10 of UAE professionals prefer to be self-employed, finds survey

The survey indicates that entrepreneurship has become more popular than ever before.

The Entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa 2023 survey, conducted by Bayt.com, the Middle East's #1 job site, and market research agency YouGov, has found that over 6 in 10 professionals (62%) in the UAE prefer to be self-employed.

Moreover, 56% are currently thinking of starting a business, 24% have tried to start their own business in the past, while only 4% never thought of establishing a new company.

Ola Haddad, Director of Human Resources at Bayt.com said: “The MENA region is home to a diverse range of entrepreneurs with unique perspectives and experiences. By understanding their views, our latest survey identifies the challenges they face and develop tailored solutions to support their growth and success.

"Bayt.com is committed to supporting the growth of entrepreneurship in the region by providing startups with access to a vast pool of skilled professionals, as well as offering guidance and resources to help them succeed.”

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The survey found that personal fulfillment (49%) and freedom to choose work-life balance (47%) emerge as the top reasons for preferring to be self-employed. This is followed by the ability to give back to the community (43%) and being one’s own boss (41%).

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’ (42%) and ‘greater independence in what I want to achieve’ (32%). On the other hand, 26% of UAE respondents said they would prefer to seek employment in a company. The main reasons are learning new skills (53%), regular income (47%) and stability of employment/job security (36%).

UAE Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

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

One-third (33%) of respondents have personal ambitions to grow their business further in their country of residence, while 23% aim to become a major international group. In fact, with growth in mind, 63% of UAE respondents are planning to hire for their business in the next year.

The top concern of respondents while setting up their own business, would be procuring finances to start (64%), establishing the right contacts (41%) and the uncertainty of profit/income (37%).

Most Attractive Industries

The most appealing industries for entrepreneurship in the UAE are considered to be Hospitality/Recreation/Entertainment (10%), IT/Internet/E-commerce, Real Estate/Property Development and Consumer Goods/FMCG (9% each).

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 – UAE respondents perceive entrepreneurs to be opportunity-driven (85%) and they help in creating new jobs (86%).

The best piece of advice offered to budding entrepreneurs by respondents in MENA is to not be afraid of failure (46%). Over 3 in 10 respondents believe that innovation is the key to success as an entrepreneur (32%), followed by access to funding (22%) and employing the right people (20%).

Zafar Shah, Research Director at YouGov said: “Our latest research highlights the importance of supporting and encouraging entrepreneurship as a means of boosting job growth and economic development. MENA region’s entrepreneurs foster a culture of creativity that inspires others to take risks and pursue their own ideas, leading to further innovation and growth in the economy. The insights gathered from this survey can help policymakers and investors create an environment that fosters innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Data for the Entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa survey was collected online from February 15 to March 2, 2023. Results are based on a sample of 1,800 respondents from the following countries: UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Palestine, Syria, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Sudan among others.

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