Where do the Emiratis want to work?
A report now says that emiratization has not succeeded in encouraging UAE nationals to join the workforce, even in the public sector.
March 25, 2009 10:54 by Aarti Nagraj
Emiratization has become one of the key words of the UAE government. And though the government has been pushing for it mainly in the private sector, it appears the policy is not working well in the public sector either.
According to official news agency WAM, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai’s ruler, recently expressed dissatisfaction with the low number of Emiratis employed in the public sector. According to the report, pointers indicated that emiratization levels did not exceed 54 percent in ministries and 25 percent in federal authorities.
He has asked a team of experts to “prepare a study explaining the factors and reasons which led to this deficit and to present recommendations for successful solutions,” says WAM.
Earlier this year, the National Human Resource Development and Employment Authority, (Tanmia) which works towards employing UAE nationals, said that emiratization went up by 30 percent in 2008. More than 2,400 UAE nationals were employed in the public and private sector by the body last year.
In January this year, Gulf News reported that about 14,000 UAE national jobseekers are registered with Tanmia.
The authority aims to employ around 2,400 UAE nationals in 2009, and has also launched a new program called Tahfeez, meaning ‘to motivate’, which will give incentives to companies in the private sector who employ Emiratis.
Another body geared towards enforcing emiratization is the Emirates Nationals Development Programme (ENDP), which recently said that the program could be facing problems this year because of the global financial crisis.
However, Ahmad Humaid Al Tayer, the chairman of ENDP said during a press conference earlier this month that it was important to hire Emiratis in the private sector during the slowdown to “ensure a strong economy as they will enhance the economic cycle.”
“It is not logical that the private sector can accommodate thousands of the expatriate workforce and is not able to provide jobs for UAE Emiratis,” he added.
The ENDP, which has around 13,500 unemployed Emiratis registered with it, managed to employ more than 1,800 Emiratis in the private sector last year.
Why don’t companies in the public or private sectors want to employ Emiratis? There are federal laws forcing companies to hire them, and hiring a national would not involve going through the hassle of relocating them and their families.
And if Emiratis have priority over expatriates for jobs in the public sector, why isn’t the government’s emiratization drive succeeding in injecting nationals in the workforce?