Emirati Graduates Choose Start-ups Over Big Companies

Recent Emirati graduates embarking on their professional journeys are advocating for choosing smaller start-up companies over larger national corporations as a means to enhance their skills and ensure their ideas receive due recognition. Aisha Al Mahrizi, a 24-year-old graduate from Sharjah University with a degree in radio and television, shares.

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Embracing Growth Opportunities: Emirati Graduates Favoring Small Start-ups

"A small company actually offers better prospects as it allows me room to develop and grow." While open to working in various fields, Ms. Al Mahrizi aspires to pursue her passion for television presenting and production. As she seeks employment, she has applied to Nafis, a council aimed at promoting Emiratisation in the private sector, which assists in training and job placements for Emiratis.

Changing Emiratisation Rules and Interest in Private Sector Opportunities

In a recent development, the UAE government announced new Emiratisation regulations mandating businesses with 20 to 49 employees to hire at least one Emirati staff member by the end of 2024 and two by the end of 2025. Previously, these rules applied solely to businesses with a minimum of 50 employees. This initiative aims to increase Emirati participation in the private sector workforce, aligned with the aspirations of nearly two-thirds of Emirati graduates, as revealed by a survey titled "The Retention Riddle: How to keep Emirati talent in the private sector." The survey indicated strong interest among the younger Emirati generation (61%) in joining the private sector, while a significant portion of current private sector employees considered a return to the public sector.

Embracing the Value of Start-ups: Insights from an Emirati Engineer

Abdulla Al Samahi, a 26-year-old cyber security and network engineer, chose to work for a start-up after completing his studies at Abu Dhabi Polytechnic. Employed at a digital marketing company with a staff count of fewer than 30, he believes that exposure to private companies is vital for professional development due to factors like work ethics, fast-paced environments, dynamics, and the need for timely delivery. Mr. Al Samahi noted the prevailing misconception among Emiratis that favors larger corporations, describing a "taboo ideology" surrounding start-ups. Job security also emerged as a deterrent, despite his belief that one's work ethic should be the primary consideration rather than the nature of employment.

Unleashing Potential in a Dynamic Environment: The Appeal of Smaller Companies

One of the main attractions of working for smaller companies lies in their streamlined processes and vibrant, often younger, workforce. Shaikha Al Shamsi, a 23-year-old mass communications graduate from UAE University, recently joined a start-up and considers it the best decision she has made. She highlights the unique opportunity for personal growth and development within a small company, where her ideas are valued and integrated into decision-making processes. Unlike larger corporations where bureaucratic obstacles may impede progress, the agile and energetic nature of start-ups allows for quick implementation and a direct line of communication. Ms. Al Shamsi appreciates the absence of generation gaps and miscommunications, emphasizing the nurturing environment and collaborative spirit that define her start-up experience.

A Transformative Journey: Embracing the Start-up Path

For Shaikha Al Shamsi, working for a start-up has been a transformative experience, leading her to assert that she would choose a small company over a large one without hesitation. She describes it as one of the best decisions she has ever made, highlighting the remarkable growth opportunities and the invaluable sense of having her ideas heard and valued. The passionate and driven nature of the young workforce fosters efficiency, motivation, and rapid progress. Ms. Al Shamsi concludes, "Every idea is heard and built on. This is what it is like working for a start-up."

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