Friday, May 25, 2007

Its an epidemic

A few months back I wrote about the intricacies of the job market in Dubai for graduates. I had a gathering a few days back with some friends from high school and everything I had said in that entry seems to have come true for most of them.

It has been almost a year since most of us have graduated, if not more. Out of 12 people there(excluding myself), only 4 of them had found full time jobs! From those four people 2 are working in the family business and the other 2 found jobs through wasta! What's even more shocking is that most of them studied at some of the top Canadian, US, UK or Australian universities.... All of them had, at some point, experienced discrimination from at least one company during the interview process.

These are people who spent their entire lives here. Yet, not a single one of them was able to find a job based on their potential and abilities.


nick said...

What employers want is experience, at least some.
I keep getting approached by various people back home whose offspring recently graduated and want to come and work in Dubai.
I keep telling them to get a couple of years experience in the US or Europe and THEN come over here.
Dubai is a highpowered environment where fast delivery matters. Companies do not have time to train interns. Sadly most firms take this short term view.

Anonymous said...

Hey Nick why not hook me up with something. I'm American, American educated and American experienced. I got all it takes, and I can speak ALL and I do mean ALL the major languages that the UAE has.

rosh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rosh said...

OMG LE - talk about "reading minds". My latest post debates along this topic.

Nick - there are trainee opportunities in every country amongst across most industries - surely you've heard of campus recruiting? I've been involved in campus recruiting past couple of years in the US.

Sadly in the UAE the trainee opps are limited to Emi's - however they are discriminated against as well. "local expats" or "uaeians" - get zero help or preference, cause there is always some new experienced expat walking in for the job. Most often leave it and move onto another one.

I think it's fundamental there be a trainee system in the UAE - else the place would lose out on valuable young talent/potential. A country cannot continue to survive solely on expat experience.

localexpat said...

hey this entry is on gulf news !! wow second time I've had my entries listed...

rosh said...

That's awesome! congratulations Mr LE - am so jealous ;)

nick said...

@ Anon 26 May / 8:52

Your 'CV' sound good.And you still haven't found a job?
You must be right wanker, then.

nick said...

@ rosh:

"Sadly in the UAE the trainee opps are limited to Emi's"

I agree that's sad. Because it means the the quality of potential trainees a company could consider is crap.
I interviewed a few of them. The minimum salary expectation was 16,000 Dhs pcm, for zilch experience. Others wanted an enclosed office - within our open plan floor.
Others would not consider anything less than a two day weekend.

OK, an offer. I am looking for a junior architect with little experience even for a few months without lock-in and I am willing to pay 3,000 pcm. In return I offer hands-on experience and training.

If you know someone post the details on this blog / comment.

rosh said...

Nick – am not disputing what you've said - don't think it’s all accurate? There are plenty of talented citizens hoping to take on an internship of trainee opps (well at least in IT and Finance).

I can't comment on the package or benefits aspect - however it is their home and they have bills like the rest of us and unlike expats, have pension deductions (usually 1/3rd of the pay)

Have you touched base with Tanmia?

After 7 weeks of active recruitment for a mid senior position based in Dubai, I found an excellent Emi lady with the right amount of experience and educational background. She starts in two weeks. Yes the pay requested stretched the budget a bit – and we had candidates who met minimum requirements wit salary expectations below the set budget. However we (more I) wanted to exhaust the local pool prior to hiring externally. I mean where else can one claim more monies & priority than in one's own country?

localexpat said...


For once I have to disagree with you. I personally cannot in anyway understand or support why one race/ethnicity/nationality should be paid more than the other.
Pay should be related to your capabilities, experience and performance NOT your race or ethnicity. Using your own argument then should you be paid less than your american collegues in NY?
Yes they have to pay bills, so do I!

I have tonnes of emi friends of mine who are paid 3-5 times more than I am. And I am proud to see my friends in promising positions in large companies. But I would be lying through my teeth if I didn't say that I am even slightly jealous. And you know the funny thing, they actually do have sympathy for me!

BTW the pension deductions, where did you hear that? Cause I never know they actually deducted that from your salary. I thought the government set up a fund that pays for the emi's pensions??
architecture. DAMN! the one degree none of my friends studied for!

nick said...

@ rosh:
"I mean where else can one claim more monies & priority than in one's own country?"

Well, NOWHERE actually, in the civilized world.
When I lived in the UK I was paid according to my abilities and not a penny less than a 'local', and so was every foreigner / immigrant I knew.

Don't expect me to shed a tear because our local friends cannot find better paid jobs than anybody else.

@ Local expat:

Just as well they didn't study architecture - it pays peanuts compared to other industries.

rosh said...

LE - I concur to an extent -'cause the reality from a black & white perspective is that there are discrepancies on pay scales & limitations to career growth when race & background is included.

Say everything being equal - once you (an immigrant that is) reach senior management, it is a different ball game (especially in the UK and EU - and Americas to a lesser extent).

Race and background shall creep in – consider the equation between CEO's/CFO's or senior management of immigrant parents/background and actual citizens in North America or EU?

Want to talk about equality in NYC (which I agree is light years ahead of ME region)? - there exists unspoken and a scale of discrimination based on race & background. Today, blacks in the US or Muslim immigrants in France -are forced to live submissive lives. Yes there are laws, I refer to as "window" dressing laws.

Furthermore a point I like to also add is the citizen/expat equation in this country and the prevailing recruitment "culture" & wasta – it is not as white or professional like in EU or the Americas. At times there are extreme steps the government has to take to have it's citizen employed, and if higher pay and government mandated recruitment of citizens is a criteria to do business in the UAE - I say, so be it.

I mean would a government not want all citizens in it's country to be employed prior to extending jobs to foreigners? Would you want to make the best pay in your country, should the opportunities/options exist?

I agree it’s more widespread in the UAE – however they have the option, ‘cause there are just so few of them with such large expat community and the nation has so many opportunities.

rosh said...

"I have tonnes of emi friends of mine who are paid 3-5 times more than I am."

LE - I feel for you, I've been there, experienced it, though not 5 times the pay maybe 30-40% more.

My two fils of advice to you - hang in there, the ride will get better. The start, as with all things are slow, once your career picks up momentum - monies shall follow.

Again - I agree with Nick & you to an extent, however feel given the prevailing professional culture, the expat/citizen imbalance and the maturity of the nation - the current practice could be the only better viable option for the short term. I wouldn't expect this to happen 20 years down the line.

Anonymous said...

The main problem is that graduates would finish their studies and expect to be hired in senior posititions with high salaries immediately skipping the experience and training part. if they clear this idea from their minds and overcome their egoes, they won't face a problem finding jobs.

BuJ said...

guys you cannot compare the West to the UAE.

I understand why Emiratis get paid more than expats in UAE, look at immigration. The door is wide open and Emiratis are a minority in the UAE.

In the West, the immigration door is open but very selective (you need money, education, etc.) whereas in the UAE you pretty much need a sponsor (which you can get from a short trip with a visit visa).

Plus ethnic minority figures (e.g. in the UK) are in single digits.. so one has to look at things from a perspective.