From the pre-launch blog files:
Here goes nothing, my first ever blog post on career advice for students and recent grads.
So after my experience with several multinational companies, and speaking to line managers and HR execs, I’ve concluded one thing.
They like coffee, a lot, and will do anything to get their cup in the morning?
No. Maybe, but no.
That, language skills are one of the most important factors when shortlisting candidates for vacancies.
Take Company A as an example. 90% of employees that work in Company A are British expats, as they normally hire their higher level, more experienced employees from abroad. Let’s say they decide to take on a junior level employee, a fresh college grad, born and brought up in the UAE. This college grad will be responsible for a lot of the admin work around the office, record-keeping, reporting, analysis, etc. Considering that most of the employees at the office cannot speak Arabic, whom do you think they would prefer to hire? In this case, let’s also assume that both of the following candidates have identical backgrounds, skills and qualifications.
1) A college grad who cannot speak Arabic to save their life, or
2) A native Arab/ someone who actually took conversational classes and can read, write and understand documents in Arabic?
You guessed right, it’s the latter. And anyone who says that this is racism or politically incorrect, is absolutely wrong. We live in an Arab country, in the Middle East, hence it really surprises and shocks me that Arabic is not taken more seriously by expats in schools. We LIVE in the ARAB world, and we should learn to speak the language.
So, if any non-Arabs are reading this, I urge you to book those Arabic classes immediately. Not only will it help immensely in your career, but it is also a beautiful language, filled with incredible depth and versatility.
If you’re wondering, yes I can speak Arabic, I’m not exactly a native, but I can read, understand and write Fus7a and I’m level 2 certified in conversational Arabic. Also, did knowing a bit of Arabic help me get selected at interviews for internships and trainee programs? You bet it did.
And hopefully, I’ll be embarking upon level 3 very, very soon.
Till then ya sabaya, assalamualikum wa kollo aamen wa entom bekhair (hope you are blessed and safe, everyday )
Next post: Language skills for Arab grads, what should they be learning?