The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) area is large, vibrant and diverse and attracts many young job seekers and recent graduates every year who rigorously compete for internships and entry level jobs. In order to measure the market and availability of internships in the region, Bayt.com – the Middle East’s #1 Job Site – conducted a poll titled “Internships in the Middle East and North Africa”, in which more than eight in ten respondents (84.7%) claimed that they are able to find many internship opportunities using online job sites.
Availability of internships
From the companies’ perspective, more than four out of five (86.9%) respondents claimed that their companies “always have interns”, this was followed by a small number (5.4%) who said they do have interns but “not always”, 3.3% said they don’t have interns but are “planning to start”, and only 4.4% said they are “not interested” in having interns.
Nearly eight out of 10 respondents surveyed (78.1%) said that there are “enough internship opportunities available” in the Middle East region. Only 21.9% of respondents disagree with this statement. In fact, more than seven out of ten respondents (73.1%) found an internship in their country of residence “easily” as students, compared 26.9% who felt that it was difficult to find an internship.
There is always room for improvement, nonetheless. Almost all (98.8%) of those surveyed believe companies should work with universities to create more internship programs, compared to just 1.2% who disagreed.
Governments seem to have a big role as well. 97.4% of those surveyed agreed that local governments should encourage and support developing internship programs, compared to just 2.6% that disagreed.
The value of internships
The majority (88.2%) of respondents in the region believe that interns are “very useful” to their businesses. 9.2% of respondents believe that interns are “somewhat useful” and only 2.6% said that interns are “not useful”.
Those surveyed said there were several benefits for having an intern. More than seven out of ten respondents (73.6%) stated that internships allow them to identify talent for future positions. Other benefits that were discussed include the ability to “quickly fill temporary and seasonal positions” and “providing extra help for small teams or departments.”
Job Seekers’ views on internships
More than seven out of ten (71.5%) respondents said that, while at university, it was required for them to complete an internship or any type of practical training.
At the same time, respondents understand the value of internships for the intern. 56.2% of respondents said it helps them “gain hands-on work experience”, 4.6% said it helps them “develop new skills and knowledge”, 4.2% said it helps them “explore their field of interest and career potential”, “1.4% said it helps them “network and build professional connections”, and more than a third (33.6%) said it provides all of these benefits.
On top of that, more than three quarters of respondents (76.2%) agree that internships “increase the job candidate’s chances of getting hired.”
When it comes to what makes an internship more attractive, nearly two thirds of respondents (65.2%) said that the “type of company / field of work” was the main factor, 29.4% said that it depends on the “type of projects and job responsibilities”, and 2.6% said that it depends on the “ability to obtain university credit.”
Only, 2.8% said that compensation was the most attractive factor for an internship. In fact, 79.3% of those surveyed said that they are willing to complete an unpaid internship, compared to only 20.7% who disagreed.
“Young talent and fresh graduates looking to secure their first role should take advantage of the many internships, entry level jobs, as well as the job search tools and information available on Bayt.com,” said Suhail Masri, Vice President of Employer Solutions, Bayt.com. “Internships are a great asset for those trying to start and grow in their career and should be a priority when it comes to gaining experience and standing out in the competitive job market. Today, and on any given day, over 10,000 jobs are available on our job site, nearly 5,000 of which are suitable for young job seekers and fresh graduates. We are also launching a new job section of Bayt.com that is fully dedicated for students and fresh graduates to help them get an early start on their career planning and job hunting.”
Data for the 2017 Bayt.com ‘Internships in the Middle East and North Africa’ poll was collected online from May 24th, 2017 to July 30th, 2017. Results are based on a sample of 9,250 respondents. Countries that participated are the UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Iraq and others.