Dubai’s Emirates Group and global consumer goods company Unilever top the popularity charts among new graduates in the UAE, reveals a local survey.


Conducted by GulfTalent, the survey consulted over 300 recent graduates and final-year students at UAE’s American University of Sharjah (AUS).


The third slot went to Chalhoub Group, and General Electric and Nestle took the fourth and fifth position respectively. Abu Dhabi carrier Etihad stayed at number 10.


According to the survey, construction and finance are the most popular sectors for graduates, followed by consumer goods.


It, however, projected a sharp divide in sector preferences based on nationality. Expatriate grads favoured multinationals with 91 percent score, while 63 per cent of UAE grads opted for government-owned organisations. Both sectors did remain on the same page over local UAE private firms, with no real takers for it.


Adnoc, Mubadala and Etisalat were voted among the most popular among UAE graduates.


According to the survey, “interesting work, training and brand reputation” were the key factors that attracted the graduates. Interestingly, salary and benefits only ranked fourth in the key attraction factors.



However, the survey did find a significant gap in the expectations of graduates for their starting salary – with salary expectations of Emirati graduate averaging Dh27,000 per month, compared with Dh9,000 for expatriate graduates.



Among the local and expat graduate community, working outside the UAE is a preferred option, with the USA topping the most popular country, followed by the UK and Canada.


The survey also revealed that 33 per cent of UAE graduates already had a job offer before graduation, when compared to 18 per cent of expats.


When asked about their ideal next steps after graduation, 67 percent said they wished to start a job, followed by 27 per cent who wanted to continue the further study, 2 percent who planned to join their family business and 4 per cent who aim to start up on their own.


Survey Methodology

GulfTalent’s study was based on a survey of 303 recent graduates and final-year students from American University of Sharjah (AUS). The survey was conducted during June 2016. For ranking employers, each survey participant was asked to name their top 3 choices, without being presented with a pre-compiled list of choices. Employers were ranked based on the number of votes they received.