Most existing research and online content is geared towards understanding Western, specifically American, millennials. As reported by a recent Brookings article that shows that for the first time ever, Millennial and Gen X voters in America outnumbered Boomers and older voters, 69.6 million to 67.9 million. In the Middle East, millennials are mostly ignored, both as consumers and as employees. This is what the World Economic Forum developed in Entrepreneurial, creative, sceptical. The truth about MENA millennials that begins by querying if Arab Millennials were different from their Global peers, its reply is :

Not only are Arab millennials the majority of the region’s consumer base, but they are also, increasingly, taking on leadership positions. Employers in the Middle East need to attract, retain and engage with local millennials in order to be successful in the region. As for marketers, the focus is no longer the region’s wealthiest people, but its booming middle class of 150 million people, most of whom were born in the 80s and 90s.

According to Wikipedia, Millennials (also known as Generation Y) are the demographic cohort following Generation X. … Millennials are sometimes referred to as “Echo Boomers” due to a major surge in birth rates in the 1980s and 1990s, and because Millennials are often the children of the Baby boomers.

So how are Arab millennials different from their global peers?

They’re the most entrepreneurial

A recent report by HSBC Private Bank suggests that the Middle East is home to the highest proportion of millennial entrepreneurs in the world – 63% of the business owners they screened in the Middle East were aged 35 or under. That’s followed by China and Hong Kong, where just under half of all entrepreneurs in each country were millennials.

Based on more than 2,800 active business owners, worth between $250,000 and $20 million, the research also suggests that the region has the youngest average age for entrepreneurs: 26 years old.

In the Middle East, 46% of these entrepreneurs started their businesses at school or university, the highest proportion of any country or region in the world. The report highlights that local millennials measure entrepreneurial success by the size of their business, more so than personal wealth, which is considered more important as a marker in the US, the UK, Germany and France. While globally millennials (employees included) place more weight on their personal power and influence, in the Middle East, more than half of the millennial population prioritizes high earnings.

Millennial entrepreneurs in the Middle East also seem to work the hardest. Their average workday is 12.5 hours, more than 2.5 hours above the global average for millennials. They’re the Middle East’s greatest asset and their entrepreneurial spirit seems to be shaping the future of the region. According to Sobhi Tabbara, HSBC’s Global Market Head of Private Banking in the Middle East: “Middle Eastern entrepreneurs are incredibly driven in meeting their goals, with a hungry young generation working significantly longer hours, compared to the rest of the world, to achieve this”. . . .

Whilst we would recommend reading the rest of the article on the original document, we would like to think that the picture described could cover as it were be generalised to the whole MENA region. The MENA region being as diverse an area where situations are culturally based on linguistics and cultual similarities but differentiated only by the financial possibilities of the petro economies of certain countries.  In these countries, as per all statistics, populations of all ages are predominantly (contrary to what is enunciated in the introduction above) of migrant or expatriate origins, hence our choice of the picture above.  These not doubt have different interests to those described in the above article of the WEF.