Stock - Dubai Insurance Co.
Dubai Insurance Co. currently has 82 UAE Nationals on its workforce, having added 57 of them in the latest recruitment drive. Pictured in the centre is Abdellatif Abuqurah, CEO of Dubai Insurance Co., at a team meeting. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: With the UAE’s government departments shifting to a 2.5-day weekend, the private sector will have some serious work to do to convince UAE Nationals to consider taking up opportunities with them. That will apply to the banking and insurance sectors as well, which has through the years been the natural career choice for Emiratis aspiring for a non-government role.

That’s not how Abdellatif Abuqurah, CEO of Dubai Insurance Co. (DIN) sees it. The UAE’s first ‘national insurance company’, DIN now has a UAE National representation of 34 per cent, up from 18 per cent.

“Talented Emiratis will not look into work hours as a benchmark to choose their future job,” the CEO said. “With the high number of CVs received every day, we think that this is a misconception.

“There are many criteria to choose the future job - and the common one is whether you fit into this job or not. From a working hour perspective, yes, banks will definitely be the attractive option to any nationality and not only Emiratis.

“We focus on recruiting the right candidate at the right place. The new batch of recruited Emiratis in DIN have legal background which is a perfect fit to our industry.”

Dubai Insurance Co. joined its peers in shifting from a Friday and Saturday weekend to Saturday and Sunday from January 1. The coming months and how the next batch of UAE Nationals graduating from the nation’s universities will choose their career pathways will offer more insights into which way they plan to head.

The 4% year-on-year increase in adding Emiratis to the workforce is not applicable to insurance industry. We comply with the regulations of UAE Central Bank where there is a specific quota that has to be met by each insurance company and which will impact the grading set by the central bank. We were already above the quota even before recruiting the new batch

- Abdellatif Abuqurah of Dubai Insurance Co.

UAE insurance is recruiting

According to Vijay Gandhi, Regional Director at the executive search consultancy Korn Ferry, much will continue to depend on the pay scales on offer rather than just work out the hours on the job. “Compensation for the unique roles in the insurance industry is competitive as the skillsets required for some of the industry-specific roles is higher than traditional ones in the financial services sector,” Gandhi said. “With the expectation of higher bonuses compared to 2021, we will witness more stabilization amongst the senior roles as consolidation will continue to drive market growth.

“We have also seen increased activity in the Insurance sector where the business has picked up in the last 18 months and insurers are trying to hire product managers, underwriters and build their commercial teams.”

While increasing concentration in the Gulf's financial services means there are fewer C-suite roles of the classic banking and insurance world we serve, what has been growing fast is the opportunity to serve clients in the fast emerging digital and crypto markets, where the UAE in particular has created a favorable environment for growth. Ongoing convergence of technology with financial services is driving fintech, corporate venture capital, cyber innovation, and with it the need to build capable teams at the top.

- Vijay Gandhi of Korn Ferry

Sharp rise in intakes

Dubai Insurance Co.’s current level of Emiratis on its payrolls is at 34 per cent, a sharp increase from the 18 per cent a year ago. This was done by taking in 57 locals, with the jobs spread among three managers, 11 administrative supervisors, 32 legal researchers, 1 computer programmer and 10 customer service agents. This brings the total number of UAE Nationals at DIN to 82 employees.

“We do not work closely with government agencies nor academic institutions to recruit new personnel,” said Abuqurah. “However. we participate whenever possible in the career fairs that are held across UAE. Also, we are a Platinum member of Tawteen Partners Club since 2018.

“There are 20 nationalities working at DIN, and we’re happy to say that locals have become the largest group among our staff.”