By Ghadeer Ghloum
KUWAIT: Having a university degree no longer awards fresh graduates their dream job amid competition among jobseekers. Possessing an educational background sets expectations of finding a job that matches graduates’ majors and provides financial independence. However, this does not apply to the reality of the job market, where fresh graduates face unreasonable restrictions. In Kuwait, three different categories of people – Kuwaitis, bedoons and expats – experience a stressful journey while searching for a fulfilling job, each according to their own circumstances.
Eman, a Kuwaiti industrial engineer, shared her experience after graduating with Kuwait Times. “I have waited for more than two years for my turn to come on the employment center’s waiting list. During this time, I applied to companies in the private sector, where I faced further struggles because non-Kuwaitis and those with lower educational degrees are preferred at lower pay,” she said.
Despite being a local with a good education, Eman faced restrictions in both the private and public sectors. After as long wait, she got hired in the public sector, where she was further disappointed over the irrelativity of the job’s nature with what she has studied. “I mostly struggled with the ministries’ needlessness of my major. Most ministries claim they already have enough industrial engineers, besides the fact that my responsibilities at my workplace do not match my education,” she said.
Dana, a bedoon fresh graduate also had her own share of struggles finding a suitable position and fair pay. “I recently graduated with a bachelor’s in English and literature from a private university in Kuwait. I also have a secretarial diploma as well, both with a high GPA. I also used to work while studying in order to empower my CV. In spite of that, I have not found a job yet that takes my qualifications into consideration. Most companies try to exploit me by making me work for long hours for a low salary,” she said.
According to Dana, when it comes to profit, some private companies disregard fairness and humanity. Being in an uncertain situation in Kuwait (neither Kuwaiti nor expat), Dana finds additional difficulties fitting in some job requirements. “When job vacancies are open at places related to the public sector, a lot of hindering factors come in the way. For example, not all bedoons are given equal opportunities. There are certain specifications such as only allowing bedoons whose mothers are Kuwaiti or of a certain nationality. Besides unstable hiring periods that are hard to follow up and other complicating factors,” she told Kuwait Times.
Ala’a, an expat fresh graduate, also shared her experience. “People already have preconceived opinions and ideas about certain races. This becomes apparent when you are looking to get hired. Experience also plays a vital role in getting hired at times. Most people will not hire you if you have no experience (despite being a fresh graduate), or they will take advantage of this fact to pay you lower wages.”
Prejudice, low pay and lack of experience are major issues that Ala’a faces as an expat. Moreover, she highlighted the issue of confiscating students’ driving licenses after graduating as another unpleasant experience. “Although I wanted to graduate as soon as possible, I used to procrastinate in order to keep my driving license,” she said.