Facebook has more takers than LinkedIn in Gulf

Infotech Lead Middle East:  More people are using social networking website Facebook compared to its professional and business-oriented counterpart LinkedIn in the Arabian Gulf region and Egypt.

2.7 million LinkedIn users and 21.4 million Facebook users are in the surveyed countries of Egypt, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain, according to a study by Galal & Karawi Management Consulting (G&K) in association with Orient Planet PR and Marketing Communications Eurocom Worldwide.

With over one million users, the UAE ranked 22nd globally in the number of LinkedIn users, Saudi Arabia (680,000 users) ranked 32nd, while Egypt (596,000 users) came in 38th.

Egypt is at the top with and 19th worldwide with 11.4 million Facebook users. Saudi Arabia came in second in the Arab world and 31st worldwide with 5.3 million users, followed by the UAE, which was third place in the Arab world and 48th worldwide with 3.1 million users.

“The study shows a ratio of 1:8 in the number of LinkedIn users compared to the number of Facebook users in the surveyed Arab countries. The global ratio is 1:5,” said Asem Galal, managing partner, Galal & Karawi Management Consulting.

This is mainly attributed to a surge in social networking use in the Arab world, particularly in light of recent events such as the Arab Spring wherein Facebook and Twitter were extensively used as a platform for communication, as was the case in Egypt.

The number of professional networking users across countries that are politically stable and secure such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia was much higher. Users of LinkedIn across the UAE have exceeded 20 percent of the population, while the average number of users among the top 50 global countries, according to Socialbakers.com, is 7.5 percent of the population.

“This study focusing on the status of social and professional networking in the Gulf region and Egypt underlines the important role of new media in cultivating a knowledge-based economy and society,” said Nidal Abou Zaki, managing director, Orient Planet PR & Marketing Communications.

Though Facebook has outstripped LinkedIn by the number of users in the region, professional networking will continue to spread across all segments of the society in the coming years, particularly in the Arabian Gulf which has maintained its status as an attractive destination for businesses and investment.

Moreover, the business community has already started to look at professional networking websites not only as an ideal interactive platform for discussions and exchange of information, it has become a more effective, easier and faster way to recruit experienced professionals and fresh graduates who can simply present their qualifications and experience to recruiting companies and hiring managers within the same network.

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