Complex Made Simple

24 per cent of Emirati students look to personal contacts for work

Recent research also unveils 23 per cent of expat students in the UAE look to their friends, family and personal contacts for job opportunities compared to 13 per cent in the United Kingdom

The Talent Enterprise, MENA region’s premier ‘think’ and ‘do’ tank dedicated to the elevation of human capital, revealed that according to global and local trends, approximately a quarter of UAE national students, and 23 per cent of expat students, look to their friends, family and personal contacts for job opportunities, compared to 13 per cent in the United Kingdom.

Although not something that a person will come across frequently, residents of the UAE, both longstanding and new, will have come across the term ‘Wasta’ at some point, whereby a jobseeker can use their leverage by knowing someone within a company to get an interview, or even a position, ahead of someone who doesn’t.

This method of securing a position within a company has been accepted, especially within the Emirati population for some time, but efforts made by the government, and the ever increasing professionalism of the private sector has ensured that this way of getting a foot in the door is becoming less effective, with initiatives in place to try and stop it completely.

So where does that leave the 24 per cent of Emirati students and/or job seekers, who were recently surveyed by The Talent Enterprise, when it comes to finding work?

“Social connections do play an important part in any labour market and where this has also been a key part of traditional local culture, as demonstrated through ‘Wasta’ networks, they are important – but should they be relied on to find a job?

Not only is professional experience more highly valued in the GCC than elsewhere in the world, according to our research, local experience is particularly highly valued. With the recent clamp down on finding a job through connections over traditional interviewing procedures, young job seekers in particular are not getting the full cycle experience that comes with finding a job (CV creation, job hunting, on-the-spot interviewing etc.), which are key skills needed when embarking on a career path.” said David Jones, Managing Director, The Talent Enterprise.

NAJAH, taking place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre on 27th to 29th October 2015, will be offering a number of career enhancing workshops which will be free for visitors to take part in, with international leadership development organisation ‘AIESEC’ and locally grown internship & graduate career portal taking part at the upcoming edition.

AIESEC will be running five interactive workshops designed to develop the leadership potential of youth through experiential learning, volunteer experiences and professional internships. InternsME, which connects students and recent graduates with blue chip employers, will be running a “Job Search Tools” workshop which includes an interactive session on how to improve cover letters/CV’s, and create/deliver strong elevator pitches. Interested candidates are encouraged to bring their CVs along to receive personalized feedback.

“Expatriate students in many ways have the toughest task of the three groups covered by this study. They are not protected by the more favourable legislation, employment conditions and reserved occupations for GCC nationals and they are often more isolated from friends and families and the usual connections that come with having them close.

I would urge anyone who relies on this method of job hunting to get out there and start interviewing. Practice makes perfect and this is no exception. The recruitment landscape here in the UAE is shifting toward a more streamlined, transparent, hiring process and the key skills I mentioned earlier are what will help someone standout when applying for a competitive role.” added Jones.

NAJAH is set to play host to a number of blue chip companies looking to hire young professionals across a number of industry verticals. Participating exhibitors include GHQ Armed Forces, Etihad Airways , ADNOC, Abu Dhabi Farmers Centre, Dubai Islamic Bank, STRATA, Mercer Consulting Middle East Limited and Emirates Insurance Company.

Held under the patronage of H.E Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Culture, Youth & Community Development, NAJAH is supported by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Abu Dhabi Education Council and Dubai International Academic City.

Official sponsors for the fair are as Platinum sponsor GHQ Armed Forces, Gold sponsors Etihad Airways and Caracal and other sponsors Rabdan Academy, ALHOSN University and Emirates College of Advanced Education.