Emirati students said they are not worried about finding a job when they graduate despite the job market becoming increasingly tougher.
Scores of redundancies have left jobseekers battling over a handful vacancies as companies across the UAE feel the effects of the global economic slowdown.
Unemployment among UAE nationals is at its highest level, with more than 40,000 Emiratis out of work, according to recent figures from the National Human Resources Development and Recruitment Authority (Tanmia).
Despite the bleak outlook, Emirati students at the American University of Sharjah (AUS) said they are not scared about finding a job.
Yara Libzo, career coordinator from the Directorate of Corporate Relations (DCR) at AUS, said companies were still recruiting despite the downturn and many favoured Emirati graduates.
She said only 2 percent of previous graduates had lost their jobs because the position was terminated.
“The job market is still alive. On daily basis companies keep calling us asking for candidates, and we still receive requests, just not the same amount,” she said.
“The market is for UAE nationals. In fact, we are desperately looking for UAE nationals, because they come with sponsorships, and can work immediately after they graduate.”
Journalism student Asma Al Jeelani, who is graduating in spring 2010, said: “I’ve been told that I can [get a job], because of the Emiratisation process that’s going on.”
Students are confident the scheme to increase the number of UAE nationals working in the private sector will help them find a job.
Balquees Al Barwani, a recent marketing graduate said: “Well I didn’t apply yet, but I’m going to look for a job soon. Since I’m a UAE national I’m not worried about finding a job, especially I’m in the marketing field.”
Yet, Al Jeelani expressed her dissatisfaction that other qualified people get “shouldered off” for less experienced Emiratis.
“Emiratis should feel the competitiveness a little bit, and learn from the people who are capable of doing a job, instead of being freely given the chance to do it,” she said.
The DCR at AUS provides counselling and job services for undergraduates, alumni and faculty members, and works closely with the Emiratisation project.
Libzo commented: “We have a special programme for UAE nationals, where big companies like Nakheel and Emaar ask for UAE nationals to undergo their training programs and immediately hire them.”
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