The UAE is the most attractive option for newly graduated jobseekers in the Middle East, according to a new survey by job site and online research company YouGov.

When respondents were asked if they would consider relocating to a different country to get a job, more than six out of 10 (62 per cent) said yes.

And when asked which countries they would move to for work, 58 per cent said they would move to the UAE, making it by far the most popular choice, ahead of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait (both 31 per cent), Canada (28 per cent), Germany (20 per cent) and the UK (17 per cent).

However, when applying for jobs, just over half of respondents said that a lack of previous work experience was their biggest obstacle to employment, as businesses would only hire experienced candidates. Almost 40 per cent said “knowing how to approach a job search effectively” was also holding them back, suggesting there are many young graduates in need of practical job-hunting advice.

If finding permanent employment is challenging, temporary work could soon be an option in the UAE, providing an opportunity to get a foot in the door and gain that all-important experience. The government is reportedly drawing up new policies for temporary employment contracts, paving the way for more part-time work and potentially ushering in the possibility of a gig economy.

The most popular sectors for young graduates in the study were banking and finance, which appealed to 26 per cent of respondents. Engineering and design were next (22 per cent), while only 9 per cent were attracted to the idea of working in government.

The public sector has long been a popular career choice in the GCC but perhaps the words of the UAE’s foreign minister, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, made an impact in March when he told the country’s youth they should “stop dreaming of government jobs” and aim higher.

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