Abeer Rashed, 23, Mariam Al Shakili, 23, and Reem Al Tayer are all employed with Dunia in Dubai Outsource Zone. Image Credit: Megan Hirons Mahon/Gulf News

It is often said the financial world is best suited to men. However, one UAE finance company has set itself apart by mainly catering to the needs of Emirati women.

The Dunia Finance Company, which is a joint venture between the Abu Dhabi and Singaporean governments, has taken it upon themselves to groom future Emirati talent.

With more than 40 Emiratis in its numerous training programmes, Dunia's staff in training are 70 per cent women; who are either fresh university graduates or still in higher education and working part-time.

"The main element for us as a company is our talent and resource base because a company cannot work without its people," said Hind Al Ali, Recruitment Head. "Hence when we started Dunia and everything was in place; we immediately started with our training programmes."

Dunia is a young company and has been in the market for four years but operational for just two. Yet in that short time it has managed to set up diverse training programmes for Emiratis looking for a way into the UAE's finance sector.

Women empowerment

The idea behind Dunia's women empowerment strategy is to encourage women of the UAE to aspire to and pursue leadership positions in the corporate world.

"We've focused our first batch of trainees on women because the idea is to empower them," said Hind. "We see lots of men in leading positions but not many women."

She added that Dunia sets itself apart from other corporate organisations by understanding the needs of women in the workplace.

"As an organisation we understand that if a woman is married with a family she needs a balance in her life," said Hind. "However, this should not hinder her from achieving success."

Another benefit women at Dunia enjoy is extended maternity leave from the legal 45 days granted by the UAE Labour Ministry. "Dunia gives three months maternity in addition to her annual leave," said Hind. "This ruling comes straight from the management; to be honest it's impossible for a lady to deliver and come straight back to work, it's cruel."

Earn while you learn

Reem Al Tayer is 20 years old and is studying a Bachelor's in Human Resources (HR) at Zayed University. She is also enrolled in Dunia's Al Waaed Undergraduate part-time programme and works in the HR department. Reem works 20 hours a week and finds the combination a good way to get one step ahead of her peers and also earn while she learns.

"I've learned so much about the practical side of HR," she said. "What I'm learning at university is really different from what I do here at Dunia."

Similarly, Mariam Al Shakili, who studies at Dubai Women's College, also works at Dunia part-time. It is their flexible hours and understanding approach to women which she cherishes most.

"Studying is the most important thing any girl dreams of and Dunia has made this easy for us," said Mariam. "I'm expecting to graduate with a Bachelor's and I don't see why I can't continue to do my Master's."

Training programmes:

Dunia offers three main training programmes for UAE nationals:

  •  Al Waaed: Undergraduate part-time programme with a two-week blended learning programme.
  • Al Tamouh: Graduate leadership programme with a three-month management certification programme run in collaboration with the SP Jain Centre of Management in Dubai.
  • Al Nukhba: Qualified professional programme where senior UAE nationals will be enrolled onto leadership programmes as well as external business school courses.

 To apply email: careers@dunia.ae