7 in 10 UAE professionals prefer to be self-employed
The Entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa survey, conducted recently by Bayt.com, the Middle East's #1 job site, and YouGov, global online market research company, has found that 7 in 10 (70%) of UAE residents prefer to be self-employed/have their own business if given the choice.
The survey found that even among those who are employed, 64% are currently thinking of starting a business, 23% of respondents have tried to start their own business in the past, while only 4% never thought of starting their own business.
When it comes to being self-employed, freedom to choose work-life balance (50%), personal fulfillment (44%) and ability to give back to the community (43%) emerge as the top reasons for preferring to be self-employed. This is followed by being my own boss (35%) and higher monetary gains (34%).
Those who have already started their business seem to have similar reasoning. When asked about the reasons MENA professionals have for starting their own business, the top three answers were: more income (36%), better work-life balance (35%) and independence in what I want to achieve (31%).
Of those who prefer to seek employment in a company in the UAE, the main reasons for their preference are: regular income (51%) and learning new skills (49%).
“Understanding the views of entrepreneurs in the region is essential to maximizing impact and driving growth and innovation in the economy,” said Ola Haddad, Director of Human Resources at Bayt.com. “As part of our research strategy, Bayt.com conducts surveys annually and shares interesting insights about the opportunities and challenges of entrepreneurship for the benefit of the sector.”
UAE Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
Entrepreneurship continues to be a growing trend in the UAE. Despite the given challenges of setting up a business, the survey indicates that entrepreneurship has become more popular than ever before. Many entrepreneurs are looking to grow their startups and establish business. Over a third (36%) of MENA respondents have personal ambitions to grow their business further in their country of residence, followed by 23% who aim to become an important international player.
Of those who are self-employed in the MENA region, 36% are at the start up stage of the business, while 26% state that their business is established but not performing well. On the other hand, 16% say their business is well established and performing well.
The top concern of UAE respondents while setting up their own business would be procuring finances to start (61%) and the uncertainty of profit/ income (42%).
Among the most appealing industries for entrepreneurship in the UAE are Consumer Goods/ FMCG (9%), Commerce/ Trade/ Retail (7%) and IT/ Internet/ E-commerce (7%).
Perception of Entrepreneurship
The survey shows even greater benefits of entrepreneurship for societies and the economy. The perceived image of entrepreneurs in the region is very positive – UAE respondents perceive entrepreneurs to be opportunity-driven (84%) and that they help in creating new jobs (87%).
The best pieces of advice offered to budding entrepreneurs by respondents in the MENA region is to not be afraid of failure (44%) and doing an extensive amount of market research (12%). Over a quarter (28%) of respondents believe that innovation is the key to success as an entrepreneur, followed by access to funding (23%) and employing the right people (21%).
Zafar Shah, Research Director, Data Services at YouGov said: “Entrepreneurs are the primary source of new job creation. The ideas and innovations born in small companies and startups disrupt industries and create a stronger economy, offering greater opportunities for upward mobility. Therefore, it became imperative for us to explore upcoming entrepreneurs and what challenges they face in a new survey with Bayt.com.”
With Mawdoo3, Jamalon, and HyperPay raising a combined $33M in total funding in 2019, it was a record year by funding for the Jordanian startup ecosystem. Learn more about one of MENA's oldest ecosystems in our 2019 Jordan Venture Investment Report.