DUBAI 4 May 2017: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has sprinted ahead as the country which most young Arabs would like to live in, according to the findings of the ninth annual Asda’a Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey 2017.
While the Arabian Gulf nation retains its position as the top choice for young Arabs to live in for the sixth consecutive year, there has been a significant increase in the nation’s popularity this year. When asked ‘Which country in the world, if any, would you like to live in?’ more than one in three young Arabs (35 per cent) cited the UAE as their choice, an increase of 13 percentage points over last year, when just under a quarter (22 per cent) put the UAE in the top spot.
Preference for the UAE was so strong this year it left other nations trailing, with the US a distant second at 15 per cent, Saudi Arabia and Canada at 14 per cent, and Germany rounding out the top five at 13 per cent.
Further asked ‘which country they would like their own country to emulate,’ the UAE again comes on top, with more than a third (36 per cent) of young Arabs saying the UAE is their model country, compared to one in four (23 per cent) last year. The US is in second place, dropping to 15 per cent from 19 per cent last year, while Canada (14 per cent) has gained 5 percentage points to rank third. Germany and Saudi Arabia complete the top 5, with 13 per cent and 12 per cent respectively.
Looking at the geopolitical situation, a third of young Arabs (36 per cent) surveyed across 16 countries say the UAE is the top ally of their country, an increase of 8 percentage points from 2016 and putting the UAE slightly ahead of Saudi Arabia (34 per cent).
Sunil John, Founder and CEO of Asda’a Burson-Marsteller, said that the survey has consistently reported the UAE as the most desired place for young Arabs to live in and to emulate. “This is a strong statement on the success of the nation’s model of economic diversification and its focus on creating job opportunities and driving the entrepreneurial skills of young people.
“Arab youth value a sense of security, economic growth potential, job opportunities and high quality education. With all those factors found in abundance in the UAE it’s no surprise that the UAE’s position as a regional success story is viewed so positively by young Arabs,” added John.
Roy Haddad, Director, WPP Mena, said: “The Arab Youth Survey provides a voice to the voiceless, and allows young Arabs to be heard around the world. It allows us to hear what Arab youth think and feel about their past, present and future. As such, it is an invaluable tool for businesses and governments, and civil society in general, who need accurate data and insights about this most important demographic.”
Safety, Prosperity, Education
Among Arab youth, the UAE is most strongly associated with safety and security (31 per cent), having a growing economy (25 per cent), wide range of work opportunities (23 per cent) and generous salary packages (22 percent). A high quality education system (17 per cent), being a good place to raise a family (17 per cent) and ease of starting a business (14 per cent) are other positive attributes associated with the UAE.
Drop in Optimism
Arab Youth Survey reveals drop in optimism in region increasingly divided between Gulf states and the rest
Other findings from Arab Youth Survey:
• Young Arabs said unemployment and extremism are the biggest problems holding the Middle East back, with the region increasingly divided by access to opportunity
• Trump’s election victory said to be the most consequential recent event for region over next five years, and a majority said the new U.S. President is anti-Muslim
• Russia overtakes U.S. as region’s top international ally, and in many countries U.S. increasingly seen as an enemy
By Rajive Singh