& YouGov Survey: Marketing, Healthcare, and Military Emerged as Top 3 Industries Hiring Fresh Graduates in the UAE


88% of fresh graduates are satisfied with the quality of higher education

Ola Haddad, Director of Human Resources at

UAE: The 2021 Fresh Graduates in the Middle East and North Africa survey, conducted recently by, the Middle East’s #1 job site, and YouGov, market research agency, has found that nearly 9 in 10 of UAE respondents (88%) appear to be satisfied with the quality of higher education they received, with 46% stating that they are very satisfied. 

Interestingly, 75% of respondents say they’ve considered the job availability in the field they chose to major in prior to enrolment, and over 8 in 10 respondents (82%) claim that their education has prepared them to target the industry of their choice.

Jobs for Fresh Graduates

The most commonly studied subjects among fresh graduates in the UAE include engineering (24%), accounting/ finance (19%), business/ commerce/ economics (13%) and information technology/ computer science (13%). Almost 4 in 10 of graduates said that their college helped them identify or apply for a suitable job in a number of ways including: job announcements (39%), help with CV and cover letter writing (37%) and career fairs (34%).

In terms of the most popular tools among fresh graduates for finding their first job, UAE respondents listed leading online job sites (51%), social media sites (47%), and direct applications to target companies (42%). 

When asked what they expect to receive in their first job, almost 8 in 10 of fresh graduates said they expect to be offered a basic salary (79%) and 50% expect to get housing allowance. Moreover, over 3 in 5 of current employees work in their field of study, with 43% being employed full time and 19% part time. 

A significant number of respondents feel that the biggest challenge they face in finding a job is knowing how to approach the job search affectively (46%), finding relevant jobs (38%) and lacking of previous work experience (34%). 

Ola Haddad, Director of Human Resources at said: “The 2021 Fresh Graduate Survey offers vital insights into the current market trends, illuminates the factors driving hiring demand, and helps universities benchmark their career services practices to better position graduates for success. Fresh graduates can easily utilize different tools on that are designed to build their CV, develop their skills and increase their professional knowledge. They can also apply to thousands of jobs that are available on our site currently.”

Most Attractive Industries and Skills in Demand

Based on the survey, the most appealing industries for fresh graduates from a career perspective are engineering/ design (22%), banking/ finance (19%), and advertising/ marketing/ public relations (19%). When it comes to industries that seem to be hiring the highest number of fresh graduates in the UAE, respondents listed advertising/ marketing/ public relations (26%), healthcare/ medical services (16%), and military/ defense/ police (13%).

According to 45% of respondents, some industries employ fresh graduates because they have lower salary expectations. Another 38% believe that certain industries hire more young graduates because they are compliant and willing to follow instructions.

In terms of skills required to excel in the workplace, UAE respondents mentioned computer skills (58%) as most important, followed by communication (49%) and interpersonal/ team skills (35%). In terms of their own personal skills, respondents consider their interpersonal/team playing skills (93%), flexibility/adaptability to change (95%), computer (86%), and communication skills (86%) to be good or very good.

Zafar Shah, Research Director, Data Services at YouGov said: “The Fresh Graduates in the MENA survey shows that more and more employers are opening their doors to fresh graduates. Universities must also provide extensive career guidance and support which includes job matching, personalised career coaching and planning, and tap on their network of industry partners to curate suitable job placement and apprenticeship opportunities for fresh graduates.”

Data for the 2021 Fresh Graduates in the MENA survey was collected online from 21 March to 2 May 2021. Results are based on a sample of 820 respondents from the following countries: UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Palestine, Syria, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Sudan, and others.