Generations A

Differences and similarities across the Arab generations

Published: 20.10.2013
by Richard Shediac, Ramez T. Shehadi, Jayant Bhargava, Dr. Hatem Samman

The Arab region has undergone significant changes in recent decades. These events do not affect all age groups uniformly — instead, each new generation is shaped by the socioeconomic events that it experiences most directly. As a result, the different Arab generations are increasingly distinct, each with their own perceptions, needs, and priorities. As governments and business leaders seek to craft economic reforms and make their countries more competitive, they need to tailor policies that effectively meet the varying objectives of the different Arab generations. This starts by understanding the generations themselves — their similarities and differences, and how they view the world.

To this end, we surveyed nearly 3,000 Arabs in six countries to gauge their views on a number of critical topics. We divided the survey population into three groups: the Arab National Generation (ANG), defined as those ages 49 to 65; the Arab Regional Generation (ARG), those ages 36 to 48; and the Arab Digital Generation (ADG), those ages 15 to 35, who have been most affected by the globalization and digitization trends of the past decade.

On certain topics, the views of these three groups are closely aligned, such as their cultural values. In other ways, such as working styles and their use of technology, the three generations are quite distinct. For governments, the policy imperatives are clear: Education reform is critical, followed by labor-force planning, improvements to the delivery of government services, and a better use of technology (such as e-government offerings and integration of smart devices into daily interactions). The private sector must also understand generational differences — particularly the different working styles and skills of younger and older employees — and seek to capitalize on their complementary skills and attributes, and should aim to exploit widespread social networking adoption to make changes to advertising and to stimulate e-commerce.


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