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GCC unemployment—Something’s gotta give

GCC unemployment—Something’s gotta give

This generation of youth sees worsening GCC unemployment rates and Precious de Leon thinks it may just have to get really bad before it gets better for all parties involved.

August 25, 2011 3:38 by

Kipp had recently crossed paths with an aspiring young graduate. It had been a couple of months since her graduation and she had gone through a few fruitless interviews. After a few weeks of pushing and pulling, she finally got a bite from a creative director in an advertising agency. They’re interested it seems. But with the summer and with Ramadan, they said they can only make a decision on whether there is a fulltime job for her later in the year. They did, however, offer to take her on for a short-term part-time work in the summer. Would she be interested?

Of course she would! How can any nubile job hunter say no to a potential employer? She’ll get the experience and get paid for it. And, oh boy, did she get the experience.

Pretty soon, that part-time job with a questionable part-time pay felt like it was a full time job that paid peanuts. She was working late nights, leaving the office at 1am. And she was working weekends, as well.

No matter how exploitative this may sound, it didn’t sully this fresher’s outlook. To her, it was step closer to getting offered that fulltime job and showing that she’s got what it takes to do it.

Valuing and protecting one’s skill set from such abuse is another discussion all together. Our focus now is that this fresh graduate understands that with each new year, comes a new batch of graduates, which mean s more competition in the workplace.

She doesn’t mind getting paid as a part-timer while doing the hours of a full-time employee. She doesn’t mind these little exploitations like most of us didn’t mind when we newbies to the workforce. It was all about getting in and getting that job.

And we reckon she’s not alone. Competition is rife in the GCC. Some would argue this is a good thing because it means companies will be spoilt for choice. And if a fresh graduate really wanted that start up job then they will go through all means to show that they deserve it. This is of course considering that they cast their net wider into all available and suitable job positions out there—private or public sector.

One of our weekly Pulse Populi surveys focused on Job Competitiveness across the UAE and Saudi Arabia. And it found that national and expatriate graduates from 2010 and 2011 are significantly more likely to still be without work and constantly on the lookout for a job.
Among these job hunters include what a The National terms as ‘a cohort of ambitious workers’—they mean young GCC nationals.

The story discusses a Booz & Co research on the causes and other insights into GCC national unemployment. It reflects the outcome of Kipp’s survey, in which we disappointingly found that most UAE nationals still see significantly prefer public sector jobs. This leads us to believe most still do not favour private sector jobs.

From this, one might deduce that the lack of confidence among UAE nationals (53%) when it comes to finding a job isn’t so much about a general job prospects but their dire outlook on specifically finding a job in the public sector.

Perhaps to break this animosity with the private sector, there needs to be a closer look at what can be done to make the private sector just as appealing as the public sector. Whether that means removing…


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