Conducted by SixthFactor Consulting, the survey sheds light on the opinions of Arab youth in the MENA region, with the overall theme being ‘Living a New Reality'.
The survey's face-to-face interviews with 3,600 Arab citizens aged 18 to 24 were conducted in 53 cities across 18 Arab states, including South Sudan, to maximize accuracy and reflect the nuances of Arab youth opinion. The findings highlight the varying outlooks of young men and women in the Arabian Gulf compared to those in North Africa and the Levant.
Some of the key findings are as follows:
1. Lack of Confidence in Government: Over 60% of Arab youth outside the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries express a lack of confidence in their government's ability to address pressing concerns like unemployment, corruption, and rising living costs. This feeling of estrangement is most pronounced in five years.
2. Decline in Youth Voice Perception: More than half (54%) of the respondents feel that their voices do not matter to their country's leadership. This marks a significant drop of 19 percentage points compared to 2022.
3. GCC Governments' Positive Perception: In contrast, Arab youth in the GCC states exhibit more confidence in their governments. Approximately 78% of GCC youth believe their voice matters to their leadership, and 87% feel that their government has the right policies to address their concerns.
4. Issues Facing Arab Youth: Across the entire sample, unemployment, government corruption, rising living costs, economic instability, and climate change are identified as the top concerns facing young Arabs in the region.
5. Youth Unemployment and Job Creation: Youth unemployment in the region exceeds 26% with approximately 32% of young individuals aged 15 to 24 not involved in employment, education, or training. The United Nations urges the region to generate 33.3 million jobs by 2030 to accommodate the influx of young people entering the workforce.
6. Arab Youth Entrepreneurship: Evidently, the entrepreneurial spirit is present with GCC states showing the strongest desire for entrepreneurship at 53%, followed by the Levant at 39%, and North Africa at 37%. 42% of young Arab men and women aim to establish their own businesses within the next five years.
7. Changing Job Preferences: Arab youth increasingly prefer private sector jobs over government employment (30% prefer government jobs, a decline from nearly half in 2019). 33% of Arab youth now prefer working in business, reflecting a 13% increase from 2022. 25% of young Arabs desire to work for themselves or their family, slightly declining from 2022 but showing a six-percentage point jump since 2019. 11% of respondents express a preference for working in non-profit organizations.
Commenting on the survey, Sunil John, President, MENA, BCW and Founder of ASDA’A BCW, said, "What stands out in this year’s survey is the fact that, once again, young GCC citizens are poles apart from their fellow Arabs in North Africa and the Levant. Over the past 15 years, our research has been a barometer of the hopes and fears of Arab youth in countries outside the Arabian Gulf, particularly on kitchen table issues such as jobs and rising living costs. A path to a better future for these young men and women must be found if we are to ensure the Arab world’s precious youth dividend is not lost."
The survey's comprehensive insights will be released under six themes, with the first two, 'My Global Citizenship' and 'My Politics', already announced. Subsequent themes will cover 'My Livelihood', 'My Identity', 'My Aspirations', and 'My Lifestyle'. Additionally, findings on climate change, mental health, and gender rights will make this year's study the most extensive in the survey's history.
To know more about the findings, log on to arabyouthsurvey.com