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Career Plan B: Sharpen your transferable work skills

Career Plan B: Sharpen your transferable work skills

In the event of being sacked despite our willingness to be 'engaged', a lot of us fantasize about changing careers to the oil, gas and petrochem industries, says study

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December 6, 2011 3:33 by



Earlier this week we talked how 77 percent of the workforce say they feel “engaged at work” despite the appalling lack of employee incentives throughout companies in the Middle East.

It was strange to see that people are saying they feel engaged at work even though they weren’t getting any added pats on the back at least. We figured that the peculiar enthusiasm may have more to do with the need to keep the job rather an accurate reflection of what the respondents really feel.

Two Kippers gave different yet equally interesting points of view on the matter. Pertinent to this particular story we’re discussing now is the comment from a reader called “Mahmoud”, who says he is from the Middle East and has worked in the region for “over ten years”, points to the difficulties of getting authentic answers for surveys in the Middle East. He continues, saying:

“You have to factor in an unbelievably high error factor and i would call it the middle eastern political/social correctness quotient. You know how common wisdom says people lie in research and say what they think is right not necessarily what is true? Well, multiply that by ten for our [the] Arab world, a place where hiding behind cliches and customs, judging and being judged, is a way of life. sad thing for researchers is, its a real obstacle to uncovering anything of value in these parts… or maybe it’s an opportunity for the persistent few who will keep scratching that thick surface

And that research discrepancy is seen in the latest survey from online job site Bayt.com and research firm YouGov. The study found that one out of three MENA professionals is considering moving to a completely new industry.

And here we thought 77 percent of them felt “engaged” at work. What kind of confused, secretive workforce do we have in the UAE, we wonder.
When Kipp asked Bayt.com CMO Lama Ataya about this, she said these were not plans to actually move but a “willingness to move” or a kind of plan B should they be downsized or transferred.

Ataya also indicated that the region continues to be an employers’ market and this pushes people to be more engaged as the job hunt becomes more competitive. No need to read between the lines on this one, folks.

So this latest survey says that 34 percent would like to move to the oil, gas and petrochemicals industry, which is considered to have the best pay, best benefits, and best opportunities for career growth. There is another 35 percent, however, who do say they are “content in the industries they are currently employed in.”

The reasons for the change? Would you be surprised if we told you money is the main driver? Well that’s exactly what the survey says. Of the top five industries that employees are considering moving into (oil, gas and petrochemicals; banking and finance; IT; human resources; manufacturing), the top motivational factor is money.

Career growth only comes second while job security is in third.

Of all these fantasies of moving to a new industry, just how easy is it to just change industries? Ataya told Kipp the study was focused on people who have “transferrable skills” like c-suite, marketing, administration, finance, and even some forms of IT and engineering.

“Moving industries is no longer frowned upon if you’ve got an amount of transferrable skills,” she continues, cautioning that there retraining is a must for certain professions and that there will be some jobs that will always been require people to go through a reeducation if they want a total career change. No chance becoming a fashion designer or even intern overnight for Kipp then.

Here are a few other tidbits:
Industries considered to be the most favourable and popular for women in the UAE are education and academia (17 percent), banking and finance (15 percent) and healthcare and medical services (9 percent). As for fresh graduates, banking and finance is most…(CONTINUED TO NEXT PAGE)



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