BUS_101026_DED 26TH OCTOBER 2010 BUSINESS Staff of DED, during an opening of the Dubai Economic Department(DED) in Business Village, Dubai. PHOTO:AHMED RAMZAN Image Credit:

Earlier this month, the UAE Cabinet approved a measure to put both the public sector and private sector on equal footing when it comes to holidays, ending the disparity in time off between those who worked in government-based organisation and ministries, and those who did not. To diversify the UAE economy away from the weighted bias towards the petro-energy sector and to decrease the trend where many citizens favoured employment in ministries or other governmental organisations, the UAE Government has pursued a policy of Emiratisation, and the decision to put both public and private sectors on the same footing for holidays removed a very real practical barrier to that policy.

But Emiratisation also requires making sure that opportunities arise in the private sector and that those positions are open and available to Emiratis. The policy requires finding a right balance for all, for employers and employees, for Emiratis and expatriates, and making sure that companies and corporations fully embrace the policy. While there has been a traditional bias on the part Emiratis to work in ministries and governmental organisations, the reality is that the private sector can benefit greatly from the education, skills, knowledge and expertise that Emiratis can bring into any workplace.

Now, as a result of an announcement made in a media briefing on Sunday by Nasser Bin Thani Al Hamli, the Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, there are to be some 30,000 private sector jobs up for grabs for Emiratis next year. Under the new policy, job openings will be optioned first to Emiratis to find the right match of skillsets and experiences before being filled by others. This measure, along with the move to unify holidays, represents a significant practical step in balancing public and private sectors and moving fully towards full Emiratisation to create a diverse, productive and innovative economy that will power the UAE forward.

It needs to be remembered that there is a bigger picture at work here, one that has identified the private sector as pivotal in powering the national economy and driving the UAE forward on its continued march of progress. The UAE’s National Innovation Strategy, for example, lays out plans to accelerate research and development efforts to address critical challenges facing the nation in areas such as water scarcity, waste recycling, renewables, food supply and climate change, as well as implementing artificial intelligence (AI) solutions in practical fields. And the private sector has a critical role to play.

These practical measures to balance the UAE economy and implement full Emiratisation chart a clear course for the nation, one that will ensure prosperity and continued progress.