Most workers in the Middle East would prefer to launch a business

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Due to high unemployment rates in the Arab region, more people than ever are launching their own businesses, hoping to create their own job opportunities, according to a recent survey conducted by

A surprising number of those surveyed, 73%, said that they preferred entrepreneurship over employment, while 82% strongly agreed that unemployment is a pressing issue in their country. 

The survey, which divided respondents into two age categories, those aged under 35 (millennials) and those who are 35+ (non-millennials), revealed a few unexpected results in a region where entrepreneurship is not yet a well-trod career path.

Millennials and those over 35 do not differ much in their opinions when it comes to entrepreneurship. In most of the countries surveyed, only a few more millenials preferred entrepreneurship than their over-35 counterparts did. Seventy-five percent of Saudi Arabian millenials preferred entrepreneurship, whereas 72% of the 35+ group did - the differential was only three percentage points. Kuwait had the largest differential - seven percentage points between 76% millenials and 69% over-35 - but even this is relatively small.

Millennials in Lebanon and Morocco are the most hungry for entrepreneurship. The study also revealed that in Lebanon, a staggering 81% of millennials preferred entrepreneurship, versus 77% for those over 35. For Morocco, the rate was 78% for millennials versus 86% for non-millennials. 

Most employees are willing to relocate to pursue career goals. Overall, respondents from most countries said they would be willing to relocate to another country to pursue career goals. Again, the countries with the most flexible employees were in Lebanon and Pakistan. 91% of millennials and 95% of non-millennials in Pakistan said that they were willing to change countries, in Lebnon, 76% of millennials and a whopping 97% of non-millennials said the same.

Three-quarters of employees are willing to sacrifice their personal life to further their career. 
By country, the highest numbers again came from Pakistan, where 45% of those surveyed were willing to compromise their personal life, while the lowest numbers came from Oman and Tunisia, where only 23% on average and 35.5% on average were willing to do so.

Seven out of ten respondents believe that they need to pursue higher education in order to advance in their careers. In the Gulf and North Africa, the majority of people tend to consider higher education crucial for career growth. In Saudi Arabia and Qatar for instance, 76% of respondents (both millennials and non-millennials) think higher education is crucial and in Egypt it's 73.5%. The rate drops to 55.5% in Oman.

Despite the stereotypes that most young employees entering the job market prefer government jobs, this study demonstrates that attitudes are shifting, and that most young people are willing to dedicate themselves to advancing their careers. 

To see more results, download the full report here.

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