Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 23 August 2019

UAE Careers: Emirati jobseekers need to better prepare themselves for the workplace, recruiters say

Many applicants may be losing out by saying no to unconventional jobs or failing to be prepared

Jobseekers at the Careers UAE 2019 at Dubai World Trade Centre. Leslie Pableo for The National
Jobseekers at the Careers UAE 2019 at Dubai World Trade Centre. Leslie Pableo for The National

Emirati jobseekers need to better prepare for interviews, speak up for themselves and consider less conventional jobs, recruiters have said.

On the second day of Careers UAE, Dubai's largest jobs fair, hiring teams urged UAE nationals to look to multinational companies, and away from traditional public sector roles.

One recruiter even said some are thrown off by unfamiliar job titles that don't match the subject they studied at university.

“After studying international relations there are so many things that someone can end up doing - they are not told this in university," said Mieray Arotine, from online recruiters Oliv, which set up speed interviews at the fair.

"And a lot of times, even if the companies are willing to meet them, the candidates are not willing to apply."

She urged UAE nationals to "keep an open mind".

"You never know where you might end up and what opportunity might come your way. If you are constantly saying no you are missing out on experiences."

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES -Job seekers at the Careers UAE 2019 at Dubai World Trade Centre. Leslie Pableo for The National for Patrick Ryan's story
Jobseekers at Careers UAE. Leslie Pableo for The National

Another recruiter said they could not fill vacancies that involve finance and treasury skills. Many graduates at the fair said they have degrees such as international relations.

The government has stressed the need for more Emiratis to study engineering, science and technical subjects, as the country looks to develop a knowledge economy and research and development industry.

This week's fair gives jobseekers the chance to speak to government departments and companies in the public and private sector. As many as 18,000 are expected there over three days.

Louise Karim, managing director at Mums@Work, which helps mothers back into the workplace, said that applicants need to be more proactive on social media and market themselves better.

"They need to look outside of the usual companies they go for and look at multinationals," she said.

There are a lot of opportunities with private companies for flexible working

Louise Karim

"It's good to see women working in information technology and the young generation are working in areas that used to be male-dominated."

She also said there is a misconception that only government jobs offer flexible hours.

"They need to be open to government and non-government companies because there are a lot of opportunities with private companies for flexible working."

Merve Kavrukoglu, talent manager at Siemens, Europe's largest manufacturer, said they have more than 50 vacancies in the UAE. She encouraged applicants to be confident and speak up.

"Every candidate should be more proactive and they need to ask employers questions," she said.

Eman Ahmed Al Bastaki, emiratisation manager at AW Rostamani, a private group of 14 companies that employs about 4,000 people, said it is difficult to hire Emiratis in treasury or finance - jobs she has only received two CVs for at the fair. The firm has hired recruiting agencies to search for more Emirati candidates.

"We have vacancies in sales, mechanical engineering and need people specialised in these.

“Applicants should be aware of how to apply and how to act in interviews and how to sell themselves to companies."

Noura Al Suwaidi, a 21-year-old Emirati, has graduated with a degree with international relations from American University of Sharjah, one of the country's top seats of learning, and is looking for a role in the public sector.

She believes recruiters don’t understand the wider applications of her subject.

"I find that my major is a little difficult to find jobs for. People don’t understand what international studies is. We take international business and economics but people think it's only restricted to politics and theory," she said.

The jobs fair continues on Thursday.

Updated: March 20, 2019 06:39 PM

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