Students listen to a seminar at Al Muntaha Secondary School. The Abu Dhabi department of economy is calling for disciplines to meet labour market needs. Image Credit: Alex westcott/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: An overwhelming number of Emiratis are choosing non-scientific based careers because of various factors, including lack of awareness or social constraints, it was discussed at a seminar at the Al Muntaha Secondary School for Female Students yesterday.

The seminar was based on a study entitled "The Future Labour Market and Job Selection" that was conducted by the Department of Economic Development. The information was gathered from a survey presented to pupils of four schools.

"According to data that we have compiled, 97.8 per cent of private sector organisations are willing to hire Emiratis, however, many pursue positions in the public sector…also, according to our survey, Emirati pupils have indicated that they are more inclined to work in arts-based fields such as business or media instead of scientific fields such as medicine and engineering," Dr Hala Saleh, Senior Researcher at the Studies Directorate of the Department of Economic Development, said.

She also noted that the labour market in the UAE currently stands at 75 per cent expatriates to 25 per cent Emiratis, and stressed the need to encourage more Emiratis to join the workforce, especially Emirati women.

Saleh said that the statistics gathered will be presented to the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) and hoped that they would use that information to encourage pupils to pursue diverse careers in different sectors.

"I agree with many of the things Dr Saleh raised in her presentation… From our side, we are always on the look out for our students' potential since they enter Grade 10 and try to continuously nurture and support their passions," Mariam Seddiqi Al Mansouri, Principal, Al Muntaha School, said.

Additional discussions revealed that pupils believe that many science based fields are male dominated and so they would be unable to find employment. However, they said the seminar had raised their awareness about the current labour market.

"I didn't know that there were so many fields that we can choose to pursue careers in and that there are fields that don't have Emirati employees…I'm currently thinking about studying Business Administration because I have relatives who found jobs in that field. But I may change my mind when I reach university…it depends if something else catches my interest," Nadia Nada, a Grade 12 pupil at the school, said.