Thousands of Emirati jobseekers are attending a major job fair hoping to secure employment in Dubai with some saying they are not picky about private or public sector work.
More than 100 firms are present at the Ru'ya 2023 Careers UAE Redefined event at Dubai World Trade Centre, including Citi Bank, Dubai Police and Etisalat.
The three-day event, taking place between September 19-21, is set to attract more than 15,000 Emirati jobseekers.
Young Emiratis at the event told The National that they are not fussy while searching for jobs, adding that they have been applying for both private and public sector work.
Fahad Hussain, 19, completed high school and says he has applied for jobs everywhere.
"This jobs fair is a great opportunity to meet employers face-to-face and get a feel for different companies and industries," he said.
"It's been an informative and inspiring experience."
There has been a big push for firms to employ Emirati jobseekers following the government's announcement that companies would face fines of up to Dh500,000 ($136,155) for failing to hire them.
More than 50,000 Emiratis were employed in the private sector last year, with thousands set to join following a boost in job opportunities thanks to the government's Nafis scheme, which provides a monthly salary top-up of Dh5,000 to Dh7,000.
Amna Ali, 25, says she is currently working in a private sector company but is looking for "better opportunities and a bigger salary".
"Emiratis are looking for private sector jobs since some have the Nafis scheme, as well as discount cards and other benefits. Government jobs are few and far between these days," she explained.
The event has allowed jobseekers to explore opportunities in fields such as finance, technology, healthcare, and hospitality, regardless of their background and experience.
Emirati graduates and experienced professionals gathered at company booths to submit their CVs, engage in discussions with HR representatives and participate in on-the-spot interviews.
Abdullah Al Khaja, 27, who graduated as an engineer says he applied for jobs at nine companies at the fair on Tuesday.
"I want to get a job related to my studies," he said, adding that the jobs he applied for invited him for interviews on Wednesday.
"I will be looking at the whole package, without worrying if it's in the private or public sector," he added.
Mohammed Al Mazmi, 19, who plans to study mechanical engineering at university next year, says he has applied for private sector roles to support his studies.
"I applied to Majid Al Futtaim group for jobs in Vox Cinemas. I just want to get any job to start my career," he said.
"In the past I wanted to work in law enforcement but I thought it's better to find a new job.
"Emiratis should work in any place, not only the army or police."
Several prominent UAE-based companies are participating in the event, including Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, Dubai's Road and Transport Authority, HSBC, Al Futtaim Group, ENOC and Citi Bank.
Dubai Police are also at the event offering work to 150 jobseekers.
Ali Alabdulla, managing director of government affairs and corporate real estate at Majid Al Futtaim group says Emirati jobseekers have become more understanding of the market.
"In the past they were targeting government sector [roles] but they are more opening minded and willing to accept jobs in the private sector," he says.
"The support from the government has helped to close the gap between the sectors and encourages Emiratis to apply for jobs in the private sector."
Fatma Al Hamrani, HR recruitment section manager at Dubai Municipality, says that they have launched a new initiative to train new graduates for one year.
"Fresh graduates can apply for training opportunities and receive a salary of Dh6,000 per month. They will gain experience and can join the municipality later," she said.
"The talent we've seen today is truly exceptional. Emirati jobseekers have a strong educational background. We are looking to hire 100 jobseekers."