About 7,000 Emiratis attended the first day of Tawdheef career fair at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre on Monday.
Jobseekers woke at dawn to drive across the country. Others arrived the night before for their chance to meet recruiters.
With more than 90 private companies and public sector departments are participating this year, it is one of the largest annual events on the job hunter’s calendar. While some were fresh graduates, hundreds had been jobseeking for years.
The National spoke to some of them about what they hope to gain from this week's fair.
“We need it to be eligible to marry”
-Omar Al Tenaiji, 19, high school graduate, Al Rams (Ras Al Khaimah)
I’ve been looking for employment for about two and a half years now. I want to support family. I would take a salary of Dh15,000, no problem but Dh12,000 is not good. We need a good job to be eligible to marry. Maybe I will marry when I’m 22 or 23. I’ll pay for the wedding myself and I need about Dh300,000 for that. To marry, you need a house, a car, everything. You need a car before you can marry. You need a house, not a flat. The dowry is Dh100,000 for gold and clothing and everything. Most people in Al Rams work outside Ras Al Khaimah, in Abu Dhabi or Dubai, because the salary is higher. A higher salary is better so I can support myself.
“The only thing they’re interested in talking about is National Service”
-Abdulla All Mulla, 24, third year finance student at HCT, Abu Dhabi
I've been looking for about three years and I'm looking in the business sector. We graduate in a year-and-a-half. We're afternoon students so we're trying to find a job in the morning. For me, it's kind of difficult because the first thing people ask when they call is whether I've finished National Service. I've had a couple of phone calls but the only thing they're interested in talking about is National Service and as soon as I tell them I haven't completed it, they're like, 'OK, thank you, we'll get back to you'. So that's the biggest difficulty I face. I can't really sit with anybody and get face to face. So that's why we try to look for places where we don't have to apply online.
“I just want time to continue my studies”
Mohammed Al Saeedi, 25, industrial experience
I have six-and-a-half years' experience with two companies. I'm studying in college now. I left my work because I want to continue my studies because my work didn't give me the time. I will take anything if I can continue my studies. I'll take Dh15,000 and Dh10,000 is fine also. I just want time. When I graduated from high school, I didn't feel like I needed a college certificate. When I got out and started work, I really saw that studies were an important thing in life. Before it was easy to get a job. Now it's a bit harder. I think the person who will look for a job needs to study more.
“They say wasta’s important but it’s in God’s hands”
Noura Ismail, 23, recent graduate from Khalifa University, Sharjah
I'm a fresh graduate. I graduated last month from the engineering department. This is my first time looking for a job. I applied online for similar companies and authorities and I'm waiting. I got one offer so far. Two of my friends have work already and the others are looking for a job. The important thing is that it's productive and it's creative and it produces something in the UAE. I have applied to the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre. They're continuously working on new projects and looking at new things. It's very variable and that's what I'm looking for in a company. I don't have a minimum salary expectation, as long as it's good for an engineering job. They say wasta's important but it's in God's hands.
“I tried luck and now I’ll try wasta”
Fatima Al Zarooni, 25, resigned from work at a bank when she married
II graduated in 2016 in business IT. I want a job where I can develop. I do not want to return to banking. Never again. I worked for almost seven years. I left my job one year ago, after I married. I am focused on a bigger salary than the salary in my last job. I do not spend too much time looking for work. It's luck and wasta. Maybe I will meet some friends here today and they will help me. You know luck comes once, it will not come again.