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Great Expectations

October 2, 2010

Thousands of young Saudi graduates are coming home to a problem faced by their peers around the world: we have the qualifications – now where’s the job?

The Arab News, Saudi Arabia’s leading English-language daily, ran a story today about the expectations of Saudi students returning from degree programs in the West to find that their expectations of going straight into well paid jobs are often not being met. Rima Al-Mukhtar writes:

Saudi graduates from universities abroad say they are jobless, while those who are working claim that their jobs do not fetch decent salaries.

According to Ahmed Jan, a finance graduate from the United States, his colleague, who graduated from a university in Jeddah and has the same job in the same financial company, makes more money than him.

“I graduated last year from the University of London with a bachelor’s degree in law. Ever since I came back I stared hunting for a job in more than one company,” said Mohsen Radwan.

“When one of them hired me they made me a very lousy offer. Even though I interned at a superior legal office in London, that did not give me the boost to earn more money here in the Kingdom.”

Obtaining a master’s degree did not help Wafaa Nomani land a job at a university.

“I studied phonology in Canada and graduated with an excellent GPA. I applied at more than one university thinking that with a master’s degree in such a rare major, colleges would fight over me,” she said.

“I guess I was wrong because I did not get any reply from four colleges and now I’m working in a private school teaching general English.”

For more, go to the full article Foreign degree won’t fetch big pay.

This is a problem that has implications for Saudi Arabia and others in the Middle East who invest huge sums in giving their youth what they think is a head start in their careers. More on those implications later.

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