American Bedu had the opportunity to dialogue with Roba,. Roba is a professional Arab career woman. She shares with American Bedu readers about her employer and provides a lot of useful information for Arab woman who are seeking professional opportunities.
What is it like to work for an entity whose goal is to create a bridge which connects employers and prospective employees together in the Middle East region?
I love working at Bayt.com. It is such a nice feeling when someone asks me where I work and I say “Bayt.com“, and they get all excited, saying “I found my job through Bayt!”. It is also rewarding to be working on projects that help improve people’s lives. The office is also fun, it’s such a diverse team and we’re always learning something new.
What have been some of the greatest challenges and accomplishments for the Middle East region?
The most amusing thing about the region I think is our love of forums. I’m a designer by training, and I almost get a heart attack when I see websites with lots of strobe effects, weird colors, and terrible structure, so I just can’t get myself to understand the forum affinity. I think that the terrible design and completely nonsensical structure of forums has completely ruined the Middle East’s ability to use a regular website.
Do you have any statistics on the ability to help empower women in the Middle East region such as percentages of women either as employers or employees who use the services of Bayt.com?
I love stats! Actually, we have a whole section on Femeo built to provide such numbers: the Femeo Career Analysis. We believe that research and knowledge are very important for women to land the job of their dreams.
Check out the goals of working women:
What exactly is Femeo? How was it created? Who had the idea and concept?
Femeo is the second of the Bayt Communities, a series of professional, industry-specific communities that introduces a whole new way to empower professionals in the Middle East to build, enhance, and advance their careers. Femeo in particular is a community for working women in the Middle East to network, read daily tips, ask for advice, and take career quizzes.
The first Bayt Community was MarketingHub.me, targeting marketing and mass communication professionals, and our upcoming one is Careeri, a place for fresh grads to learn how to write a great CV, ace a job interview, etc.
Where is Femeo “based?”
Bayt.com has offices all over the Arab world, so Femeo is a truly Middle Eastern website. The team currently working on the project is mainly based in Amman, Jordan and Dubai, UAE, but we get help from all over.
How can Femeo benefit women in the Middle East? What are the added advantages for a woman to use Femeo?
Femeo was created for us by us. The team is a diverse collection of working Arab women, and we are passionate about helping women advance in their careers and establish financial independence.
I see that Femeo is available in both English and Arabic. How big of a difference is there whether someone follows Femeo in Arabic or English? How does the information differ?
Great question, Carol! 🙂
We are currently providing the same content in Arabic and English, so it really doesn’t make a difference.
Let’s talk specifically about the Saudi market. What are challenges an Arab (Saudi) woman can face in finding that right job in Saudi Arabia and how can Femeo help her?
Let me share with you some stats we have come across during our research phase.
Education is improving very rapidly: Female literacy rates have reached 94 percent for those between 15 and 24 years of age, and 69 percent for those ages 15 and above ( World Bank Central Database, 2004). It is estimated that between 2004 and 2020, there will be twice as many female college graduates as male graduates.
According to 2003 statistics, at 52 percent, women form more than half of all college graduates in the Kingdom (Arab News, 3 June 2004). Saudi Arabia funds one of the world’s largest scholarship programs for women, and thousands of women have earned doctorates from Western universities (Nawaf Obaid, “Saudi women must get the vote in 2009,” Financial Times, 13 October 2004).
Employment: Women’s participation in total employment was estimated at 15 percent in 2004 (World Bank Central Database) Out of the
total number of employed women, an estimated 30 percent are nationals, while the rest are expatriate female workers (United Nations, “Millennium Development Goals” Report on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, 2002). The female labor force participation rate does not reflect the actual employment status of women as it does not include women’s traditional work such as herding and farming.
Women in the workforce are mainly concentrated in the education and health sectors. Saudi women account for 82.7 percent of the total female workforce in the education sector, and 7.5 percent in the health and social sectors (Saudi Arabia Human Development Report 2003).
Wealth: According to Amnesty International, approximately 16,390 businesses are owned by women and women own 40 percent of the nation’s private wealth. Aggregate investments made by women in Saudi Arabia in 2002 included US$ 1 million in industrial projects and US$ 1.77 million in service projects.
We aim to have tons of such research on Femeo, and we have tips and advice based on what we learn through numbers. Knowing where you stand is the single most important thing after capability.
What are the five best tips you have for a woman seeking a job in Saudi Arabia?
– The Internet is a great place to look for jobs. Many of the employers who look for recruits online are more likely to be large (and thus have open positions for women) or less traditional. Check out Bayt.com, and nice sites like Femeo (we’re adding a jobs section soon) where recruiters are actively seeking candidates like you.
– Networking is essential! Make sure that you network with people in your desired field. Bring contact cards and come prepared to talk about yourself, your accomplishments, and your past work. Send a thank you email or a “nice to meet you” email when appropriate.
– Do lots of research about the industry or job of your dream. Being armed with market knowledge will give you edge.
– Make sure you know your strengths and talents, write them down, and make sure you can say them eloquently. After all, landing the job of your dreams is about selling your strengths.
– Don’t mention your personal issues in the job interview. Be completely focused on your professional side.
What are the top 3 Don’ts a woman should not do in a job interview?
– Come to an interview dressed inappropriately. Do some research of the office culture of the company you are interviewing at. Dress code and first impressions go hand in hand. Avoid perfumes and excessive make up.
– Be personal in a job interview.
– Make sure you watch your body language. Don’t fidget. Try and remain calm and confident. Keep eye contact with the interviewer. Smile.