The allure of government-based employment is an attractive pull for many budding Emirati talents.
But while our aspiring youth are traditionally drawn to a public sector that offers safe and secure employment pathways, the opportunity cost of this is that the UAE’s emerging sectors are divested of the immense potential which this talent pool possesses. Thankfully, amid the industries evolving the UAE’s employment paradox beyond conventional roots, the creative sector in particular is delivering a welcome brushstroke of change.
As a newly-appointed member of the Unesco creative cities network, Dubai has been globally recognised for its design culture, a testament to the vision of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Shaikh Mohammad seeks to promote the growth of diverse sectors, such as the design sector, to foster a creative industry that encourages innovation and newfound growth opportunities through the engagement of young talent. If we place an ecosystem of Emirati designers, artists, fashionistas, photographers and filmmakers at the helm of this bustling creative economy, we can truly pin the UAE on the map as a global creative capital.
The involvement of Emirati talent can be prolific in driving the creative sector, especially given that it is one ripe for challenging new realms of thinking. In doing so, this niche collective will have the potential to cut an unconventional future from the cloth of our workforce’s conventional tendencies.
And the broadcast of our home-grown talent to the world’s runways and iconic art galleries is just the beginning.
Of the UAE’s numerous arts foundations and centres, contemporary art and design initiatives and precincts, such as Tashkeel, Dubai Design District (d3) and Alserkal Avenue to name only a few, are bolstering the sector’s inclusion and cultivation of Emirati talent. For example, d3 — the region’s first district dedicated to design and creative pursuits — houses around 85 Emirati companies, many of which are immersed in creative activities.
With developments and contributions like these, the country’s design sector is heralding a new era of Emirati engagement in the private sector. An artistic network of Emirati creatives is the perfect solution towards the proliferation of a knowledge-based economy. Influenced by the vision of the nation’s leadership, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah have each embraced creative production in different, unique ways.
This has resulted in the establishment of the UAE as a multifaceted design hub and a brilliant platform for the emergence of promising, creative UAE nationals. By shaping the future of the country through the promotion of diverse career paths, further career diversity can be championed to develop unconventional job prospects.
The creative industry is just one of the many exciting industries leading the way forward for unconventional Emirati careers, one creative exhibition at a time. While it’s essential the government sector is run by a backbone of capable Emiratis to fulfil the UAE leadership’s progress towards attaining diversified economic activity, achieving a balance of human capital is critical to pertaining a well-dispersed ecosystem of Emirati talent across all vital industries.
If we are to tap into the growing potential of UAE nationals, we need to ensure opportunities arise in line with their career motives and growing capabilities so they can excel long term in unconventional realms of business and industry.
Noting that Emiratis are the cornerstone of future progress, the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan was incredibly visionary in proclaiming that, “No matter how many buildings, foundations, schools and hospitals we build, or how many bridges we raise, all these are material entities. The real spirit behind progress is the human spirit, the able man with his intellect and capabilities”.
This is resonant in line with our emerging youth talent, who are the face of our nation’s future and who represent the next wave of talented, skilled individuals. But to encourage Emirati youth to explore alternative career pathways to employment, we must instill a culture that encourages, accepts and develops lateral thinking to transform their perception and uptake of job prospects which splay beyond the norm.
Now it’s up to us to bring these influential words into fruition, by equipping our innovative, creative Emiratis with diverse, dynamic career prospects which enable them to, in turn, acknowledge their responsibility for leading future generations and future industries. Let’s also empower these talents to challenge conventional opportunities and instill positive change via a balanced dispersion of Emirati talent right throughout the nation’s key sectors.
The wheels for success are already in motion. Let’s keep them rolling.
Abdulwahed Juma is Executive Vice-President, Brand & Corporate Communications at du.