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The Future of Employment in the UAE

An article in the Atlantic titled, The Terrifying Reality of Employment talked about results of a study that suggested if you have been out of work for longer than 6 months employers won’t hire you.

Currently in the Middle East, unemployment rates are still extremely high.  The amount of jobseekers far outnumbers the amount of jobs being created.  In addition 3 out of every 4 women in the Arab world are out of work.

Whilst the public sectors of each country have traditionally shouldered this burden, most governments are at capacity with the amount of jobs they can provide for citizens.  The private sector must change its employment practices in order to reduce the number of unemployed and it may need to start with fixing the gender gap first.

For the UAE the situation may get worse.  With neighboring countries suffering an economic slowdown after the Arab Spring, the UAE is operating as the main beneficiary through increased tourism (over 10 million visitors in 2012) and consumer spending, and ultimately acting as the business hub for the Middle East.

Typically students in UAE universities have been guided into engineering, medicine, business and finance but these skills are not the most in demand skills in the world of work.  Not having the right qualifications, as well as increased pressure from competition exacerbates the problem.

Once graduated they like millions of others compete for limited job openings, often not hearing back from employers for months if at all, and some not sure if their CV has even been looked at.

It seems to be an employers market right now.  With hundreds of potential candidates to choose from for every 1 job posted, most employers aren’t that concerned with fighting to retain existing staff.  Many of those go further and identify the fact that there aren’t that many jobs out there so they aren’t worried about their staff leaving.

Its not all roses for employers though.  Many still struggle with the deluge of candidates, whilst the volume is high, there is no way of knowing what the quality is.  Firms just don’t have the resources to go through all the candidates properly and many firms aren’t even sure about the exact legalities with it comes to hiring someone – shall I use a part time worker / shall I use a freelancer / is it legal to use a student etc.

What would help then?

Job seekers must stay up to date with the evolving technologies in their skillset and a prove they are putting these skills into practice, perhaps by taking on projects and part time work.  Validation for this concept can be seen in the rise of “ The Appliject”  model. “Resumes are dead. Interviews are largely ineffectual.. Portfolios are useful,” writes Michael Schrage, a research fellow at MITSloanSchool’s Center for Digital Business. “But projects are the real future of hiring”

At Nabbesh we’re trying to solve some of these problems.

Women have traditionally been excluded from the workforce because of cultural and other socio economic reasons.  Nabbesh is a platform that can match women who have surplus skills and hours to connect with those that need them.

We want to make sure more people have the right skills that are in demand by employers.  By showing people what skills are most searched for in real time we can influence how people upskill through university or other learning courses.

By opening up the market for “always on” employment though freelance and part time work, we’re helping people stay relevant and ultimately always employable, so that they never have to be out of work.

We want to give every person the ability to make the best impression and stand out from an increasingly crowded marketplace, that’s why we built Canvas, the best profile builder to demonstrate your skill set.

By focusing on skills, we’re giving people options to pursue and monetize their real passion instead of being stuck in a job they don’t love.

Follow us as we disrupt the future of work.

nabbesh.com

References:

The terrifying reality of long term unemployment (the atlantic.com)

75% of Arab Women out of work (emirates 24.7)

Want to quit your job, don’t expect a counter offer  (zawya.com)

After university, arab women struggle to find work (al fanar.org)

Projects are the new job interviews (inc.com)

What Bosses Want

By: Kathy Shalhoub

I spoke to the General Manager of a medium-sized company today who regularly hires freelancers for various projects as needed. I was curious to know what are the key attributes that bosses look for in hiring freelancers.

It was no big surprise that in addition to them being qualified, the top three attributes on Jack’s list were reliability, thoroughness and punctuality.

He explained that when companies hire freelancers, they usually do so because they have a rush job that their regular employees just don’t have time to do. They look for someone who is reliable because they need to be sure that the job will be done in time and to the specifications given.

Because the companies pay a premium to freelancers over existing employees and there is a real sense of urgency for the project to be completed, there is no time for too much discussion and they expect the work to be completed on time.

“We need to know that they can deliver,” Jack told me, “so strong references are a must.”

Jack continued to explain that he often looks at the portfolio of work to be more at ease not only with their qualifications, but to be sure of their actual output.

Communication skills, both the spoken and the listening, have to be impeccable. “With your own employees you have the luxury of time and availability to make sure that your message is understood, but with freelancers, you have the one or two meetings to make it clear what it is you need. “

Jack’s final words were about his fears of freelancers. “I worry about freelancers when they start making excuses for not delivering or when they ask for information too late for them to complete the project on time.”

So reliability, thoroughness, punctuality, communication skills, planning skills and a good portfolio is all you need to gain Jack’s trust!

Blogger’s Bio: Kathy studied engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has a PhD in Marine Sciences from the University of Paris. She is also a writer and published her first book, Life as a Leb-neh Lover, in 2010. Kathy is fascinated by matters of the mind, self discovery, self acceptance and personal development and is currently researching these topics. Check out her blog, ‘like’ her on Facebook or follow her on twitter @Lebneh_Lover.