It's an age-old dilemma and still one of the most daunting tasks that new job seekers face in the market – where is the experience? Employers are becoming more and more demanding in terms of experience and the flashy degrees are not enough to get a foot in the door. But, if nobody will hire inexperienced candidates how are they supposed to get that experience which employers are looking for?
While getting experience may be difficult, it's not impossible. One such initiative has been launched that can help students find an appropriate career start in the UAE and broader GCC.
Transguard Themis Recruitment has launched an internal and an external graduate trainee programme to help tackle some of the major hiring issues faced by university graduates looking to start a career in recruitment and other disciplines.
“It can be difficult for graduates to find a career within their specific fields, especially in the UAE where we live and work in such a fast paced business community. Organisations may not have the time, desire or resources to invest in a graduate with little or no work experience,” said Jason Armes, General Manager, Transguard Themis.
Transguard Themis, which is a part of the Emirates Group, specialises in providing end-to-end recruitment and contract resourcing services to professional organisations throughout the UAE and the wider GCC.
According to the Knowledge & Human Development Authority, over 9,000 students graduated with at least a diploma in the UAE last year - 2,721 Emiratis and 6,418 expatriates or overseas students.
Of those, 2,198 achieved a BA and 2,242 gained an MA with a fairly even split between the genders, 47 per cent and 53 per cent between male and female Emiratis respectively and 57 per cent and 43 per cent between male and female expatriate students respectively.
Transguard Themis will also be looking to place graduates for short-term contract work, part-time work as well as full time positions. According to Armes, this can meet the short and long term requirements of both companies and graduates.
“Companies benefit from well-educated students with a good understanding of the region, in many cases bi-lingual and often a good grasp of the local commercial environment. Ideal candidates for short-term projects or part- time work. From the graduates’ perspective, they get that all-important work experience, which may eventually lead to a full time job and of course a salary!”
Roxanne Wood, an expat graduate who has lived and studied in the UAE since 1993, is the first employee to join Themis under the new initiative, being employed as a Trainee Recruitment Consultant.
Wood studied within the UAE, attending the Emirates International School and English College during her primary education, moving to Dubai British School to finish her GCSEs and A-levels.
After achieving a BA Honours in Social Policy and Crime at Leeds University in the UK, she decided to return to Dubai to start her career, assuming that with the booming economy, there was ample opportunity within the UAE.
“I arrived back in the UAE at the end of September 2013, where I immediately started looking for work. I applied for hundreds of job applications without any success. Most job descriptions required at least two to three years’ experience.
“This was difficult for me as I’d only achieved a minimum amount of casual work experience,” said Wood. She then started to look at the possibility of a career in recruitment when her elder sibling, who has been working within the industry for over eight years, suggested she contacted Themis.
“Roxanne caught my attention by emailing me her CV with a personable cover letter explaining her situation. I decided to invite her for an interview as we were in the process of finalising our graduate programme. She showed ingenuity, enthusiasm and had the drive so was the perfect fit for our company,” added Armes.
Wood went on to say: “The best advice that I can give to other graduates looking for work is research companies you are approaching, personal emails are key, sign up for an internship while on your school holidays, try to involve yourself in networking clubs and widen your social circles and finally…don’t give up!”
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