In a survey titled “Fresh Graduates in the Middle East and North Africa” that was conducted by bayt.com in 2015, the findings showed that
“Salary expectations for fresh graduates living in the UAE are high;
52% are also looking to receive/have received personal medical insurance and 41% anticipate both a housing and transport allowance. 40% expect a personal annual air ticket.”
While all of these are rational and mandatory for a comfortable living, it may be foolish to expect them from your first job with hardly any work experience under your belt.
Students that topped their classes, had their backs patted and were teeming with self-confidence end up disappointed with unpaid internships and ‘low’ salary package offers after graduation.
After spending between AED 150,000 to 300,000, on average, at a college/university in the U.A.E, they believe their education has adequately prepared them for the job market.
On the other hand, agencies and corporates suggest that fresh graduates require further training on the job. In most industries, one employee handles multiple job descriptions and recruitment is a long process.
An HR Manager from a well-known 5-Star establishment from the hotel industry in Dubai shared the corporate’s side of the story:
Because the strings on the manpower budget are tight, training on-the-job has become a luxury that most corporations cannot afford. In my opinion, graduates should be given more opportunities with rigorous internship placements and better training departments at corporations because these will prove beneficial to corporations in the long-run.
Now, as a recent graduate, this does not mean you have to be cynical or pessimistic. Au contraire. A true realist is someone who hopes for the best, but also expects the worst.
So, how can recent graduates fill this gap?
1. Adjust your expectations: Seek professional advice within your University or Community. Most campuses provide their students with career counseling, giving you a realistic view of what to expect in your first few years of employment [i.e. basic salary rates, perks, possible networking opportunities etc.]
Talk to professionals working in the field and politely investigate how long it took them to climb up the ladder.
2. Get in the field: Don’t undervalue the experience of an internship. Internships [even unpaid ones] help you understand the demands of the job market, give you a feel of employment opportunities, and help you test how you fit into the picture.
Bonus: Here are some tips from Time magazine on how to help you land a job offer. It’s important and beneficial to understand what it is you want or hope to get out of a job offer and to be well informed about the opportunities out there.
Ultimately, when you ace a job interview and land that offer, use these tips from the Harvard Business Review to guide you through it and make it out on top.
How long did you take to find a job after graduation? Did it fulfill all your expectations? Tell us your story in the comments below so we can have the bigger picture.