The Dubai School of Government (DSG), established in 2005, is a research and teaching institution focusing on public policy in the UAE and the region. It aims to promote good governance through enhancing the institutional capacity for effective public policy.

They've recently published a landmark report on the "Impact of Social Media on Middle Eastern Entrepreneurship and Employment." A first-of-its-kind survey conducted by the Governance and Innovation Program of the Dubai School of Government (DSG), has found that social media holds the potential to play an important role in boosting skillsets, enhancing employment prospects and supporting entrepreneurship across the Arab world.

The survey, which examined the effectiveness of social media in promoting social advancement, job creation and business growth across the Arab region, collated data from close to 5,000 respondents in Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Lebanon, Oman, Egypt and Jordan.

The report revealed that social media can have a dramatic impact on job creation and employment opportunities:

  • Nearly 80 per cent of the respondents said that technology could help provide access to critical job market data.
  • 76 per cent respondents claiming that it is beneficial in forming job-yielding partnerships and opportunities.
  • 75 per cent saw it as a conduit for a new ‘virtual job market’.
  • 71 per cent claimed they would rely on social media to find their next job.

Social media’s influence in the workplace was also seen as positive and beneficial:

  • 86 per cent noted it increased intra-agency collaboration.
  • 85 per cent welcomed its ability to connect with customers. 
  • 85 per cent said it inspired innovation. 
  • 78 per cent felt that social media’s powerful connective credentials can markedly enhance trust levels among the workforce.

The report also hailed social media as a critical tool for start-ups across the Arab world, 86 per cent agreeing it contributed to business success through the following:

  •  90 per cent agreed it allowed multifaceted marketing potential.
  • 86 per cent aknowledged it's capacity to tap into wider markets. 
  • 85 per cent admitted it allowed for substantial customer engagement. 
  • 84 per cent believed it raised awareness and instilled entrepreneurial mindsets. 

The primary drawbacks and negative connotations attributed to social media use in business largely center on concerns regarding the regulatory environment. People and businesses do not feel protected in the absence of appropriate laws regarding intellectual property, privacy and copyright, according to the report.

Looking ahead, 81 per cent of respondents agreed that national policies and guidelines would help facilitate better use of social media at work, and inspire entrepreneurial opportunities. The survey participants additionally called for educational reform to integrate such technologies in the classroom.

Racha Mourtada, Research Associate with the Governance and Innovation Program, DSG and lead author of the report, said: “Respondents were overwhelmingly positive about the role of social media in engaging governments and citizens for creating policies that benefit businesses and start-ups. It is also commonly believed that the platforms serve as an equalizer across different gender and age groups, with 34-40 per cent claiming that social media made them feel more empowered to create their own employment opportunities, or to influence social change.

As Fadi Salem, Director of the Governance and Innovation Program, DSG, and co-author of the report concludes, "(This) ground-breaking research offers insight into new horizons for economic empowerment of the Arab youth. It is essential for policy makers and businesses to understand this emerging phenomenon and its impact on their societies and markets."

For more information about the Dubai School of Government and the report, click here.

– Khaleejesque Staff

Image Credits: Surely and Wilton.

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