How will emiratization succeed?
The UAE government is struggling to encourage more Emiratis to work in the private sector. But they will first have to change the educational and labor conditions in the country, say analysts.
February 12, 2010 10:43 by Aarti Nagraj
In fact in May last year, the Sharjah Public Transport Corporation (SPTC) said that despite adopting emiratization, the body was unable to hire Emiratis as taxi drivers in the city. “We admit this whole campaign was a complete failure,” Mohammed al-Shamsi, the chairman of the board of directors of the SPTC, told the Sharjah Consultative Council at the time. According to him, the SPTC has received only one enquiry from a national for a driver’s position since it launched the emiratization process almost five years ago.
“He called in the evening saying that he wanted a job as a driver, and in the morning, we called him back – he said he didn’t want the job anymore,” al-Shamsi said. “We asked him why and if he had got another job – he said he was a national and was content to remain unemployed if he didn’t get a decent job as a national.”
The government has been trying its best to push private companies to hire Emiratis. For instance, firms with more than 100 employees have to allocate a quota of positions for locals. Last year, the government also announced that Emiratis cannot be fired from private companies unless they are accused of “serious misconduct, including, among other reasons, absenteeism, theft or drunkenness.”
However, while these factors have obviously not been able to tempt too many Emiratis into the private sector, they have also led to weariness among the private sector employers. Most of them prefer hiring expatriates, and are not aggressively promoting the opportunities that they have to the locals, according to Paul Dyer, fellow and program director at the Dubai School of Government.