Emirati youths at the Third Annual Emiratisation forum at the ADNEC. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: A survey of Emirati youth has found that nearly 80 per cent of respondents consider salary, benefits and growth opportunities to be the most significant priorities when deciding on a job.

Out of 100 Emiratis, nearly 20 per cent of the university students and fresh graduates put emphasis on work environment, diverse culture, location and working hours as major factors when accepting job offers.

The survey was conducted yesterday in the capital as part of an Emirati youth forum, which took place ahead of the annual Emiratisation Summit and Tawdheef Recruitment Show. The show will start on Monday at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec) to offer career development opportunities to UAE nationals.

Despite strong entrepreneurial capabilities among Emirati youth, lack of innovative ideas and fear of failure are still main concerns that hold Emiratis back from taking the next step to launch their own businesses, university students and fresh graduates pointed out at the forum.

Starting a business can reduce joblessness among Emiratis that has reached 18 per cent, according to a study conducted by the Khalifa Fund in 2013.

“What are you passionate about? This is one of the most important questions everyone should be asking. Part of why I am successful is my love for what I do; taking a product or a service from idea to execution brings me job satisfaction,” Karim Djerboa, principal consultant at Innovation 360, told Gulf News.

Innovation 360 is a global innovation management consultancy that helps companies of all sizes and government organisations and encourages individuals to bridge the gap between innovation strategy and execution.

“There is a high correlation between entrepreneurship and economic growth opportunities. A country rich in ideas and entrepreneurs is a wealthy country with a creative economy. One entrepreneur can change the world through innovative discoveries and businesses.

“Therefore, I encourage all Emiratis to take part in the Ibtikari workshop, which will take place on February 18, to improve ideas and develop applications that can boost the tourism sector in Abu Dhabi in collaboration with the Khalifa Fund,” Djerboa said.

As most Emiratis are unaware of personal and career development opportunities in the private sector, the forum featured several youth success stories to change perceptions.

Mohammad Zamani, 24, told Gulf News, “I have participated in this forum to increase awareness and motivate UAE nationals to seek jobs in the private sector. I graduated from the American University of Sharjah (AUS), started working in a private company, and succeeded in changing negative images about Emiratis.”

“The key message is to not only guarantee short-term benefits of a job but to think of it as a long-term investment. My learning growth was very fast in the private sector,” Zamani, who works in KPMG, said.

Nearly 78 per cent of participants at the forum said that working in the private sector can be challenging in terms of cultural diversity, English proficiency, competition and job security. And around 47 per cent of respondents said that routine and lack of motivation are the disadvantages of working in the public sector. “Working in the private sector was rewarding and challenging. I obtained many skills, which have differentiated me from the other candidates,” Saeed Al Madani, who works in Mubadala, said.

Tawdheef 2014 is being held under the patronage of Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth, and Community Development.

Among the jobs on offer at the event will be 4,000 positions at the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), 100 positions at National Bank of Abu Dhabi, 66 vacancies at Mubadala and 22 jobs at TwoFour54.