When I used to read or hear about unemployment, I never thought I’d be part of this phenomena. I’m smart, ethical and fundamentally driven to make a difference so why is it that I’m not being wowed by compelling offers by every company. When I made the decision to change my career path, I thought following my authentic self will open doors for me, that I won’t need nepotism to land a job, I’ll land it all on my own.
But then I had my ‘the world is bigger than your problems’ moment, I attended a job–fair. It was one of those rude awakening moments, it was very sobering to know I was not the only one. The area was closed down at the time the job–fair was supposed to open, nationals from all over Abu Dhabi and it suburbs showed up two to three hours before the opening time to stand in line and get ahead start. The room was packed with unemployed UAE nationals age ranging from 18 to 50?. An older lady sat to my right who looked old enough to be retired, she was desperate to find a job as a cashier in Abu Dhabi Co-operative Society but was devastated to find out that they were looking for a candidate with at least a diploma degree and she only finished high school. The other girl sitting to my left was a fresh graduate and this was her third job fair, she was a pro by the time I met her; she knew that we can take breaks, and that its going to be a long sit-down so bring in your cup of coffee and some visual entertainment to cut time.
It was not just me, I’m not a singular effect. that was the moment I realized I was part of a percentage. According to tradingeconomics.com UAE unemployment rate “increased to 1.72 percent in 2017 from 1.64 percent in 2016.”
Nonetheless people like me push forward and continue to put ourselves out there. Every morning brings in new possibilities, so we apply, make a number of phone calls. But we are always faced with this endless debilitating loop of not getting the job because we don’t have enough experience or not getting it because we are not fresh graduates.
“But no, this job is for fresh graduates”. I’ve heard this statement at the end of the line so many times. But your job description states you are looking for a no experience to two-year experience candidate and I’m it, so why not shortlist the best candidates for the position without being rigid and traditional in terms of picking who you find qualified?
The United states Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that individuals change careers 11.9 times in their lifetime. Almost everyone starts their careers practicing what they learned but with growth and exposure comes self-evaluation that a bachelor’s degree shouldn’t set in stone a career–path. The 11,943 civilians who were surveyed were able to pivot and remold their future. Age and the date of graduation should not be an issue. Passion, drive and most importantly skillset should be taken into account during the shortlisting process.
Yet I am left at the end of each day feeling that professionals like me missed their chance and now we are redundant unless we know someone who knows someone.