Social media ‘plays key role in employment’
Dubai, October 3, 2012
Social media holds the potential to play an important role in boosting skillsets, enhancing employment prospects and supporting entrepreneurship across the Arab world, according to a survey conducted by the Dubai School of Government (DSG).
The first-of-its-kind survey conducted by the school’s governance and innovation programme, collected data from close to 5,000 respondents in Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Lebanon, Oman, Egypt and Jordan
The survey examined the effectiveness of social media in promoting social advancement, job creation and business growth across the Arab region.
The results were announced in a policy forum held at DSG’s headquarters, under the patronage of Saqr Ghobash Saeed Ghobash, the UAE Minister of Labour.
The survey comes as the result of a partnership between SAP AG and DSG.
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.
In addition to 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’. Meanwhile, 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 pervasive and positive. Here, 86 per cent noted it increased intra-agency collaboration, 85 per cent welcomed its ability to connect with customers and 85 per cent said it inspired innovation. Furthermore, 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, with 86 per cent agreeing it contributed to business success. Among the reasons cited were its multifaceted marketing potential (90 per cent), a capacity to tap into wider markets (86 per cent), substantial customer engagement options (85 per cent) and its overall potential to raise awareness and instill entrepreneurial mindsets (84 per cent).
DSG’s report has highlighted that social media is viewed as a facilitator of significant educational advantages. While 84 percent respondents said students would benefit from utilising social media in developing entrepreneurial skills, 76 affirmed they use social media and ICT tools to acquire such business abilities.
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.
Fadi Salem, director of the governance and innovation programme, DSG, and co-author of the report, said: "Despite having few stable economies in the region today, the most active part of the Arab population; the youth, is increasingly feeling empowered. Our ongoing research over the past two years has shown that close to 50 million Arabs are actively connected to social media and primarily use the platforms to change social and political realities in their countries.”
“The 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. We are delighted to team-up with business leaders such as SAP on our research projects.”
Sam Alkharrat, the managing director of SAP Mena, said: “In a dynamic, rapidly evolving region such as the Middle East, where young, tech-savvy people are seeking to forge new opportunities, it is critical that companies use social media to engage both existing and aspiring employees.”
“Harnessing value from the flow of big data generated from social media is critical for driving greater operational efficiency, cutting costs, boosting profits and unlocking new routes to innovation.”
“SAP helps customers tap into social media data to uncover insights and revenue opportunities they would never think to look for or are unlikely to find using traditional research methods. The DSG study reaffirms our belief that platforms of this nature have a stunning impact on the job market, the up-skilling of talent, as well as SME creation and empowerment.”
In addition to providing unprecedented insight into regional social media trends, results from the DSG study will form a key part of an ongoing feasibility study by SAP Mena for creating a cutting-edge, project-enabling ICT platform to boost sustainable job creation across the region.
The platform will improve leadership decisions related to job creation by aggregating, processing and presenting ‘big data’ using social media and established SAP solutions such as the SAP e-Recruiting application, SAP enterprise learning environment, SAP learning solution, and the SAP CRM rapid-deployment solution for citizen contact centers.
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 equaliser across different gender and age groups, with 34 to 40 per cent claiming that social media made them feel more empowered to create their own employment opportunities, or to influence social change.” – TradeArabia News Service