The Gulf Arab States need to create a massive 600,000 jobs by 2018, just to maintain a credible percentage of nationals working in the private sector, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The regional private sector is still dominated by an expat work force, and governments across the region are looking at various measures to make the private sector more appealing to the local work force.
The two largest economies in the Arab world, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are challenged to turn the massive growth of their private sectors into jobs for their nationals.
According to the UAE Labour Ministry, the country needs to create anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 jobs a year in the private sector, just to meet the requirements of the labour force likely to join the job market over the next decade.
It is estimated that Emiratis working in the private sector do not exceed seven per cent according to published data from the UAE Ministry of Economy. Initiatives by private companies like scholarship and workplace internships are helping nationals choose careers in the private sector.
Hasan Metla, Chief Financial Officer of Omnix International, a leading IT solutions provider, said that his company became more involved in university activities once it was able to measure the enormous impact of its initiatives.
He added that, despite gaps being successfully filled, a greater number of leading organizations such as Omnix should consider playing a role in the provision of services for the UAE’s higher education sector, as participation can only bring shared rewards for all parties involved.
“Filling education support services gaps with specialist solutions from third-parties is a ‘win-win’ situation for everyone. The educational institutions benefit by having an organization whose service provision is their particular forte, the students gain from having an additional knowledge resource, and the providers benefit through their name becoming embedded in the minds of a generation of future leaders and potential employees,” said Metla.
“Just having a master’s degree is no longer enough to guarantee a top job, students need real life experiences and market know-how before they step into their working careers. The private sector must play a defining role in helping the new workforce acquire skills, which will make them standout in the jobs market,” added Metla.
UAE-headquartered Omnix has confirmed that it will continue to work with ambitious university students across the UAE, providing invaluable workplace internship and training to assist students in their quest to mould themselves into the country’s future business leaders.
The educational sector will see huge benefits from partnerships with leading companies who understand the importance of imparting real life skills to students, said Mehta.