Students must improve on ‘soft’ skills to increase employability: head of online recruitment site



ABU DHABI // Even after graduating from Stanford University, Rabea Ataya struggled to get a job. He had all the right academic credentials and sat through a number of interviews lined up with the help of his school. But Mr Ataya initially received no employment offers.

“I thought I’ve never been rejected for anything in my life and I have a great CV. I thought it was a cake walk, but I got rejected by the first six interviews which happened in a two-day period,” said Mr Ataya, who went on to head one of the largest online job sites, Bayt.com.

What Mr Ataya was lacking, he said, was good interview skills, something you are not always taught in school.

“What happened? I went to the library, picked up books on interviewing,” said Mr Ataya. “I did another six interviews and I got a job offer from every single one of them. So it was the same exact human being, but I just learnt how to play that particular game a bit better.”

Mr Ataya said students needed to take the initiative to improve their employability skills on their own, as these “soft” skills needed to excel in life are often not part of the university or high school curriculum.

Indeed, a study published this month in the journal Tertiary ­Education and Management, found that, “enhancing the employability of graduating students is a major challenge,” for universities.

“The gap between industry and academia make it difficult for universities to identify and deliver the appropriate and needed skills to prospective graduate employees. The findings of this study also indicate that higher education curriculum development should be directed towards attributes that are expected of graduates and are relevant to the needs of the market and industry.”

Mr Ataya said students should lobby their institutions to develop better career counselling services. They should also enrol in public speaking and writing classes and any other coursework that promotes communications and team projects.

“Universities for the most part are doing a fairly good job of training you how to be an engineer or how to be a developer or whatever the case might be. However, to be successful in the workplace, you need to work in a team, you need to have good communication skills, you need to be a lifelong learner, you need to be able to work under pressure,” said Mr Ataya.

Job seekers also need real-­world work experience.

“The vast majority of people in the Middle East graduate from university and have never worked a day in their lives,” said Mr Ataya. “Trying to get work experience earlier on in life is very important, so don’t wait until you graduate from university. Try to get involved in projects whether in school or otherwise that tend to put you in contact with other people, because that coordinating, liaising is extremely important.”

rpennington@thenational.ae

RESULT

Deportivo La Coruna 2 Barcelona 4
Deportivo:
Perez (39'), Colak (63')
Barcelona: Coutinho (6'), Messi (37', 81', 84')

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
SQUADS

India
Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wicketkeeper), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shardul Thakur

New Zealand
Kane Williamson (captain), Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (wicketkeeper), Henry Nicholls, Ish Sodhi, George Worker, Glenn Phillips, Matt Henry, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Adam Milne, Trent Boult

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Kinetic 7
Started: 2018
Founder: Rick Parish
Based: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Industry: Clean cooking
Funding: $10 million
Investors: Self-funded

The National Archives, Abu Dhabi

Founded over 50 years ago, the National Archives collects valuable historical material relating to the UAE, and is the oldest and richest archive relating to the Arabian Gulf.

Much of the material can be viewed on line at the Arabian Gulf Digital Archive - https://www.agda.ae/en

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

Sweet Tooth

Creator: Jim Mickle
Starring: Christian Convery, Nonso Anozie, Adeel Akhtar, Stefania LaVie Owen
Rating: 2.5/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

SPEC SHEET: APPLE IPHONE 15 PRO MAX

Display: 6.7" Super Retina XDR OLED, 2796 x 1290, 460ppi, 120Hz, 2000 nits max, HDR, True Tone, P3, always-on

Processor: A17 Pro, 6-core CPU, 6-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine

Memory: 8GB

Capacity: 256/512GB / 1TB

Platform: iOS 17

Main camera: Triple: 48MP main (f/1.78) + 12MP ultra-wide (f/2.2) + 12MP 5x telephoto (f/2.8); 5x optical zoom in, 2x optical zoom out; 10x optical zoom range, digital zoom up to 25x; Photonic Engine, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 4, Portrait Lighting

Main camera video: 4K @ 24/25/30/60fps, full-HD @ 25/30/60fps, HD @ 30fps, slo-mo @ 120/240fps, ProRes (4K) @ 60fps; night, time lapse, cinematic, action modes; Dolby Vision, 4K HDR

Front camera: 12MP TrueDepth (f/1.9), Photonic Engine, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 4, Portrait Lighting; Animoji, Memoji

Front camera video: 4K @ 24/25/30/60fps, full-HD @ 25/30/60fps, slo-mo @ 120/240fps, ProRes (4K) @ 30fps; night, time lapse, cinematic, action modes; Dolby Vision, 4K HDR

Battery: 4441mAh, up to 29h video, 25h streaming video, 95h audio; fast charge to 50% in 30min (with at least 20W adaptor); MagSafe, Qi wireless charging

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Apple Pay), second-generation Ultra Wideband chip

Biometrics: Face ID

I/O: USB-C

Durability: IP68, water-resistant up to 6m up to 30min; dust/splash-resistant

Cards: Dual eSIM / eSIM + eSIM (US models use eSIMs only)

Colours: Black titanium, blue titanium, natural titanium, white titanium

In the box: iPhone 15 Pro Max, USB-C-to-USB-C woven cable, one Apple sticker

Price: Dh5,099 / Dh5,949 / Dh6,799


The UAE Today

The latest news and analysis from the Emirates

      By signing up, I agree to The National's privacy policy
      The UAE Today