Unemployment a ticking time bomb

RAS AL KHAIMAH — The euphoria of receiving degree and diploma certificates for the 258 students from Ras Al Khaimah Womens' College seemed short-lived, with the students expressing serious concern over finding employment, and some of them even going to the extent of describing the job market situation for nationals as a ticking time bomb.

By Sadiq A. Salam

Published: Thu 2 Jun 2005, 10:21 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:56 PM

The students of the 8th batch received their certificates at the graduation ceremony yesterday, but the joy of stepping out qualified was tinged with the worry of a none-too-encouraging future. The 258 students have varied qualifications including Information Technology, Teaching English for Young Learners, General Business, Computer Information Processing, Applied Business Administration and Information Administration. The college is expected to take in 1000 students in the coming academic year.

"We have been looking for jobs since August last, leaving no stone unturned in both the private and public sectors. But all or efforts have been in vain," says Azzah Ibrahim Al Tunaiji, with a Diploma in Applied Business with distinction tucked under her arm.

The group said unemployment had become a serious issue which should be addressed by both the government and private institutions. According to them, joblessness among UAE national graduates had become a social time bomb which needs to be addressed urgently. "We have been interviewed by a number of prospective employers from both the government and private sectors, but no one has approached us seriously," Hemddah Ahmed Al Khayat, an IT diploma holder said.

She goes on to add with a touch of pride : "We are not looking for jobs merely to earn a living, but also to safeguard our dignity and to feel that we are human beings who are ready to serve the country and the people. The idea of sitting at home without a job is a nightmare for me."

Some students said they were even willing to seek jobs outside the emirate, which, in a way, highlights the gravity of the situation. "I am willing to take up a job in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or even Sharjah provided that I get an offer which is worthwhile," said Abeer Najim Al Rasibi, a graduate in Applied Business Administration.

She had earlier graduated from the UAE University, Faculty of Science, Biology Department, in 1998, and remained jobless for three years before finally deciding to study ABA in RWC. She is currently being employed by an Ras Al Khaimah-based national bank.

Echoing similar sentiments, Samyah Mohammed Mundil, who has a diploma in ABA, said: "In light of current economic hardship, I am willing to take up any job outside the emirate."

There are several religious, social and economic reasons which have also contributed towards the unemployment among graduate women, says Shaikha Amal Al Qasimi, Students Services and Activities Coordinator. "Some families put very tough preconditions for girls to work like secure transportation and working hours limited to mornings hours. I am not against our deep-rooted social and religious norms, but these families should take into consideration the rising economic and social factors.

"I do realise the concerns of the private sector in employing locals because they think nationals ask for shorter working hours and high salaries besides other benefits," Saeed Abuelreesh, Community and External Relations Coordinator, said.

Calling upon the government to encourage the private sector to employ national graduates by contributing to the salaries and pensions of the locals, Saeed Abuelreesh said: "The government should give some incentive to the businessmen so as to encourage them to employ nationals."

To a question on the emerging trend among national women seeking jobs in other emirates, RWC Director Ian W. Hall said: "On the one hand, this shows that unemployment among the national graduates is a serious issue that should be addressed by the community at large as well as government bodies. On the other hand, it is an important indication that this society is passing through a very important transitional period."

Stating that these young women should be given appropriate roles and responsibilities in contributing to the development of the economy, he said : "We have excellent graduates with very good skills and qualifications who have proved to be efficient at different levels of employment."

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