Social Media Use in Career Guidance Delivery in Higher Education in the United Arab Emirates: A Literature Review

Social Media Use in Career Guidance Delivery in Higher Education in the United Arab Emirates: A Literature Review

Sophia Alim (Independent Researcher, UK)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/IJEA.2019010103
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This literature review examines the use of social media in higher education career guidance delivery in the UAE (United Arab Emirates). Previous research has revealed UAE youth feel unprepared for work, highlighting a need to improve the quality of career guidance. With social media becoming popular, social media integrated with career guidance can expand opportunities for students. The current use of social media in career guidance, highlighted that the UAE is utilizing social media as an information source rather than an interactive workspace. UAE universities use online career planning systems mainly. One of the main reasons being that social media delivery in career guidance leads to pressure for career guidance practitioners, in terms of moderating content. Coupled with the strict privacy laws governing the use of social media in the UAE, this can present challenges. For social media to become successfully integrated into career guidance delivery, universities in the UAE need to understand what their students want in terms of career guidance delivery.
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1. Introduction

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven states located in the Middle East. With 13.53% of the population in the UAE in 2017 between 15-24 years old, the youth represent the third largest age group in the UAE. Youth unemployment figures in 2017 across the Gulf States and North Africa including the UAE indicated the highest collective percentage of youth unemployment in the world (Central Intelligence Agency, 2018; Oxford Business Group, 2018. In 2017, youth unemployment among 15-24-year-olds in the UAE was 11.7% (Statistica, 2018).

A lack of good quality career guidance was one of the reasons cited behind youth unemployment in the UAE. Career guidance is defined as “advice and information about careers that helps individuals, especially young people, decide on a career and also teaches them how to pursue their chosen career” (Collins, 2018). Other reasons behind youth unemployment included slow economic growth, low-quality education, rising social unrest and a tough private sector environment (ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller, 2017; Dilshad, 2017; The International Council of Security and Development, 2010; The World Bank, 2017; Wilkins, Balakrishnan, & Huisman, 2012). The reasons were reflected in findings of the Arab Youth Survey in 2018 (ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller, 2018). The Arab Youth Survey carried out annually, aims to provide evidence-based insights into the attitude of Arab youth. This information is beneficial to the public and private sector in the creation of policies and decision making.

The 2018 Arab youth survey conducted 3,500 face-to-face interviews with 18-24-year-old Arab men and women across 16 Arab states which included the UAE. The survey highlighted that 23% of Arab youth associate the UAE with having a high-quality education system and 29% associate the UAE with offering a wide range of work opportunities. The UAE was also stated as the top country to live in by 35% of the youths questioned due to being associated with high paid jobs and strong career opportunities (ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller, 2018).

One method of making career guidance more accessible is incorporating it with social media. Social media platforms especially Facebook are very popular amongst UAE youth and the population in general. Types of social media platforms include social networking sites (Facebook, Google+); microblogging (Twitter); blogs; virtual worlds (Second Life), social bookmarking sites (Delicious, Digg); photo or video-sharing sites (Flickr, YouTube); forums and discussion groups.

UAE, with a population of 9.5 million people, 9.4 million are Internet users with a 99% Internet penetration rate. In terms of Facebook users in the UAE, there are 9.38 million Facebook users with 99% of them having active accounts at the beginning of 2018 (ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller, 2018). Other popular social media platforms used in the UAE include YouTube 7.47 million users, 79% active users; Instagram 5.01 million users, 53% active users; Twitter 3.87 million, 41% active users; LinkedIn 3.78 million, 40% active users (Dubai Digital Interactive Agency, 2018).

Focusing on the UAE youth, in 2016, the social media survey of Arab countries highlighted that from the 5,530 users who answered the online survey, the UAE had high penetration rates in terms of the population in 2016: for Facebook (81.1%). Whereas the social media platforms with the lowest penetration rate were Instagram (12.9%) and LinkedIn (32.5%) (Salem, 2017).

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