Despite high unemployment, many young workers who are fresh out of college, are not completely happy with their current roles and look to quit their jobs and move on within a couple of years.
These young, fiercely ambitious workers who belong to generation Y have high expectations. They are not satisfied with their income and career status, and many feel that they deserve more considering their high level of education.
The dilemma faced by working fresh graduates was taken up in a report from Ashridge Business School and the Institute of Leadership and Management last month.
The study conducted in the UK among 1,222 graduates and 684 managers, showed that many young graduates feel their salary is below or greatly below expectations (45 per cent).
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A significant number (80 per cent) are particularly disappointed with career advancement and salary.
More than half (56 per cent) of those surveyed expect to land a management position within three years of starting work, while one in ten believe they will be appointed to a management role a year into their first job.
Experts at Ashridge Business School believe the region's young workers, which account for 65 per cent of the GCC population, are equally unhappy.
"If we look at the private sector in the UAE, then the pattern from the research is likely to play out here in the UAE as well, where a widespread desire among graduates to leave the employers after only a couple of years undermines attempts to manage talent effectively and promote the long-term success of the organisation," said Rory Hendrikz, Ashridge Middle East director.
Hendrikz said UAE national graduates working in the government sector could be an exception as they are believed to enjoy better compensation.
"They are currently fortunate in that their starting packages are relatively high and we also notice that they do move into management positions earlier on in their careers than their global counterparts, interesting though that talent retention is still a challenge for many public sector organisations," Hendrikz says.
The dissatisfaction among young workers can lead to high employee turnover and affect the long-term success of an organisation, so companies are urged to do something to bridge the gap between what employees expect and what organisations can afford to provide.
"Organisations put a lot of effort and investment into nurturing and developing their graduates in order to establish a pipeline of talent that will drive innovation, organisational effectiveness and competitiveness. However, a widespread desire among graduates to move on within a few years undermines efforts to manage talent effectively and promote the long-term success of the organisation," noted Penny de Valk, chief executive of the Institute of Leadership and Management.
Greater responsibility top priority when seeking employment
Hassan Khalid, 28, graduated with a mechanical engineering degree from the American University of Sharjah in 2008 and in the space of three years, he has had four jobs.
Although he has experienced relative career progression, he is still not satisfied with his current job as a project coordinator in the oil and gas sector.
"I feel I can perform much better than I currently am, and the only thing holding me back is I know there will be no appreciation or compensation if I do," he said of his current job.
"At work there are a few outdated people when it comes to dealing with technology and things could go much faster if they knew how things worked."
At two of his former workplaces, Khalid experienced fear mongering and hostile superiors who used intimidation as a key management style. He did however also experience a boss who adopted a mentoring technique, which worked well for him.
"I liked his attitude and behaviour because he would walk me through everything once or twice and expect me to pick it up quickly," he said. "I work on deadlines. Tell me when you want something and let me get on with it, otherwise I don't want to really talk to my boss between that time."
When asked of his top five priorities when seeking employment, Khalid cited greater job responsibility above all, followed by salary, appreciation, recognition and flexible working hours.
Razan Al Jabri, 23, who has a chemical engineering degree, was awarded a place at Abu Dhabi National Oil Company's drilling engineer trainee programme, but she's struggling.
"The people I work with are my dad's age and it's like they've already surrendered hope because they have no drive or passion left," she said. "It's like they just stick around for the salary because they need it to support their families."
After her graduation, she initially expected to find a stable job she enjoyed which would motivate her to work hard. Yet in her current position, she said she lacks the motivation she initially had.
"I expected a proper training programme but now I get sent for training every three months and I'm left unattended or supervised a lot of the time; it's not very well structured," she said. "It's like all the fun I had at university has been sucked out of me in this job."
Source: Gulf News