Mar 27 2012
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Developing entrepreneurship skills growing in Gulf: Survey
The majority of survey respondents said the Arab Spring has resulted in deteriorating employment conditions.
In the GCC countries, professionals' individual economic situation is rated s follows: 30 percent in the UAE, 22 percent in Saudi Arabia, 24 percent in Qatar, 29 percent in Oman, and 25 percent in Kuwait.
Fifty five percent of respondents in Bahrain claimed that their situation is worse.
The negative economic impact of the Arab Spring is felt across all age groups and economic levels.
However, 34.44 percent of professionals in the private sector say that they have been negatively affected compared to 20.22 percent in the public sector.
Yet, even with this disparity, the survey shows that professionals are no longer looking at the government as the main provider of employment opportunities.
In most countries, roughly two-thirds of respondents express interest in the private sector, with 71 percent of Jordanians, 74 percent of Lebanese, 70 percent of Syrians, 68 percent of Egyptians, 66 percent of Saudis, 75 percent of Bahrainis, 48 percent of Tunisians, and 51 percent of Moroccans all saying they would prefer to work in a private company.
The survey reveals that the majority of respondents are familiar with the term "entrepreneurship" (only 29 percent are not familiar at all). On average, there is a higher level of familiarity with entrepreneurship in the Gulf countries, with 22 percent of respondents very familiar with the term in the UAE, Oman, and Kuwait followed by 20 percent in Qatar and Bahrain.
Yet, most new businesses in the region fail. Forty four percent of Egyptian, 45 percent of Jordanian, 57 percent of Omani, and 50 percent of Saudi business owners stated their current businesses were not performing well.
In every country surveyed except Qatar, less than 20 percent of self-employed respondents stated that their business was running well. When asked about the key barriers that prevent professionals from starting their own business, the reasons that professionals most agreed with were: lack of financing, inability to self-finance, and fear of failure. Other reasons stated by the respondents include economic uncertainty, the lack of entrepreneurial skills, and strict government regulations.
Regardless of low success rates, there is widespread interest in business ownership; in every country surveyed a large proportion of respondents said that if given the choice they would prefer to be self-employed or own a business. About 40 percent of respondents expressed interest in being self-employed, with the lowest being 29 percent in Algeria and the highest being 52 percent in Lebanon. As far as the reasons are concerned, 50 percent of respondents said that they started a business because they wanted greater independence.
The second and third most popular reasons are tied to economic necessity and reasons: 27 percent said it was because they could not find a job at that time and 20 percent said because of higher income.
However, professionals in Algeria and Qatar were most interested in working in the public sector, with only 35 percent and 39 percent respectively wanting to work in the private sector.
"While the effects of the recession are apparent, the Middle East's businesses have also had to deal with the more recent Arab Spring. For the most part, countries consider their personal employment and business situations to be the same.
Yet, in those countries hardest hit by the Arab Spring - Bahrain, Egypt and Syria - the tone is that overall employment conditions, both personal and countrywide, have become somewhat worse as a result," said Sundip Chahal, CEO, YouGov.
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