They're young, qualified and jobless. Europe's hopeless cases, the Generation Y victims of a Eurocentric global recession have had to make compromises in order to survive.
As a result of the severe economical thrashings witnessed globally, many graduates across Europe have been deemed underemployed with many having to compromise on pay, career, and -- increasingly -- on their location. Thousands have been forced to look elsewhere to jump-start their ailing career, and with a rapidly developing Middle East cutting a stark contrast to the receding West, is the lucrative desert all it's cracked up to be?Imperial College Master's graduate Emilia Kouroussis has friends earning little over Dh1,200 a month back home in Greece. The 23-year-old, who holds a BSc in Chemistry and a Master's in Research from the prestigious London University, which consistently ranks inside the world's top ten, had to move to the UAE -- she had little other choice.After graduating in September 2011, she spent half a year in Greece searching futilely for a job before heading East. With her high calibre degree, you might have thought her options would be endless."Well that's what I thought, but there was nothing, it was horrible."Kouroussis was a victim of timing, she says. She had initially intended to get her PhD, but all the scholarships dried up as she neared the end of her Master's degree.
Her grades were respectable and she had been told by supervisors there would be projects available. After 10 months of rejections, Kouroussis says she gave up the dream and shifted to Greece, where she never really looked for a permanent job.
"(All the employers) wanted a PhD or three and a half years' work experience...we can't even get the work experience so how can we get a job?"
While in Greece, the proficient English speaker funded herself through short-term translation projects.
"It's very tight, I know a lot of kids who are at university or went to university working at restaurants and even their hours are starting to get cut."
Wages of some of her friends have gone from 700 Euro down to as low as 250. People still in Greece, particularly young people, are left feeling helpless, she says.
"They know why it's happening, obviously, but everyone's just angry they've got to a point where there's just no more options."
The daughter of Greek diplomats who now live in the country, Kouroussis went back to the nest in search of stable work. It took another six months before she picked up a job as a science teacher in Abu Dhabi last September, thanks to a family connection -- not quite the career path she had in mind.
"It's good...I'm just happy to have a job and make my own money."
A year of rejections was "kind of depressing, to be honest".
So used to rejection, she began to read the signs.
"I realised (if) I saw the words 'talent pool' that's the one they always use to reject you: 'We'll keep your CV in our talent pool'."
Kouroussis says previously she had met many Greeks in the country looking for jobs.
"Everyone comes here because they think you can find an easy job, but it's not that easy. You have to have connections, you need to know people to get a job...they'd gone to a lot of interviews but they just never got the call back."
She knows of people that spent five months in the UAE looking for a job, staying at friends' places.
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