Career growth top criterion for Emirati jobseekers

Survey provides insights ahead of Tawdheef Recruitment Show offering 2,500 jobs

Emirati students from different colleges engage in discussions during the Emirati youth forum at the Rocco Forte hotel in Abu Dhabi yesterday. More young Emiratis are opening up to the prospect of private sector employment, which they find offers a greater diversity of positions and challenges.

Abu Dhabi: A survey of Emirati youth found that nearly 70 per cent of respondents consider factors other than salary and benefits to be the most important criteria when deciding on a job.

The survey, which was conducted in the capital as part of an Emirati youth forum, revealed that 30 per cent of the university students and fresh graduates polled place utmost importance on growth and promotion opportunities when selecting a job.

“Unfortunately, Emirati youth are unaware of development opportunities in private sector companies. On the other hand, private sector employers mistakenly believe that Emirati youth place more emphasis on salary, benefits and working hours,” Sulaf Al Zu’ubi, forum moderator and chief executive officer of training and mentorship company Injaz, told Gulf News.

“In order to realise Emiratisation targets, awareness about private sector opportunities needs to be enhanced among the youth,” she added.

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Sulaf was speaking on the sidelines of the first youth forum that was conducted ahead of the annual Tawdheef Recruitment Show. The show, which begins in the capital on Tuesday, will see more than 2,500 job vacancies up for grabs. The vacancies are available at more than a hundred public and private sector organisations in a variety of industries, including finance, oil and gas, media, and health.

Following the UAE government declaration of 2013 as the year of Emiratisation, this edition of Tawdheef will see a renewed focus on the recruitment of Emiratis. A number of positions will also be open for expatriates.

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According to Sulaf, no discussion or event about Emiratisation can be fruitful if youth are not placed at its centre. “This is why the forum, which included Emirati youth from across the UAE, was conducted, and it yielded surprising information for most attendees,” she said.

Nearly 70 per cent of participants at the forum said that getting a job is their most immediate priority after graduation, over further education or entrepreneurship opportunities. When choosing between public and private sector positions, the deciding factors for Emirati youth tend to be growth and promotion opportunities, work environment and skill development.

“The private sector work environment does not always provide sufficient motivation for Emirati youth,” said Ali Ahmad, a 20-year-old student of Dubai Men’s College who attended the forum. Ahmad, who works in the public sector, said he would only consider moving to the private sector to benefit from the work experience it offers.

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Marwa Safar, 31, a part-time student from Sharjah, who has found a job for now, however said she preferred working in the private sector.

“I have been employed in the private sector for five years, and I find the work more challenging and rewarding. There is also a greater diversity of positions, so I would encourage other Emiratis to seriously consider the private companies,” she said.

Tawdheef 2013 is being held under the patronage of Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, minister for higher education and scientific research.

Among the jobs on offer at the event will be 1,000 positions from oilfield services company Al Mansoori Specialised Engineering, 30 positions at the Standard Chartered Bank, 20 positions at oilfield services firm Petrofac, and 15 jobs at Oasis Hospital in Al Ain.

By Samihah Zaman and Sara Sabry, Staff Reporters
Published: 19:30 January 28, 2013,  Gulf News, info: