Challenges in Joining the Workplace for Fresh Graduates
Stakeholders (industry, faculty, and students) throughout the interviews have reported multiple challenges that could be faced by fresh graduates, which have been categorized as follows:
• Lack of experience: For the vacancies in the market, companies hire engineers from outside because of the experience, and in many cases, they could accept a lower salary. Companies’ expectations of fresh graduates are not met since they look for experience when hiring. Preference is given to recruits with 5+ years of experience, and also, there is preference for GCC experience. Skills set shortage with national fresh graduates is normally compensated through structured, comprehensive, and relatively long training programmes (sometimes can last 2 years); these training programmes are not available for non-national fresh graduates.
• Gender issues: Some companies (especially small companies) do not prefer hiring female engineers, for matters related with sustainability; for instance, in case of maternity leave, there will be need of a substitute and extra overhead paid. Some females may not prefer working in certain engineering environments (e.g. offshore). Females are usually, based on their own preference, appointed to work in planning and design (office work).
• Environment: Diversity of cultures in working environment, ethical matters, conflicts, reality versus theoretical world in college, etc.; long working hours/shifts, offshore work, tough environmental conditions, etc.
• Skills shortage: Deficiency in skills (both technical and non-technical), such as communication skills, teamwork skills, andprofessionalism. The knowledge that the students obtained in the universities is not enough, so they need to learn independently and stay updated.
• Motivation: Several stakeholders in particular from the industry reported that motivation for working in real engineering tasks is rather low with national fresh graduate (in particular, males), as they tend to aspire for management positions as soon as possible.
• Nationality: Non-national fresh graduates may have significant difficulties as compared with nationals, and they have to compete with overseas recruits who have more experience and can be employed for less.
• Engineers shortage and competition: Qatar industry has a significant shortage of engineers, in particular skilled ones and national engineers, which has been frequently reported. Competing on national engineering talent is very high among industry employers in Qatar.