Abdulrahman Al Awar, UAE Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, meets Editor-in-Chiefs and senior media officials.
Dr. Abdulrahman Abdulmannan Al Awar, UAE Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, meets Editor-in-Chiefs and senior media officials. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: From 29,810 Emiratis working in the private sector in 2021, the numbers have risen to 79,000 this month. These numbers were revealed in a meeting held today by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) with media leaders in the UAE.

Dr. Abdulrahman Abdulmannan Al Awar, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation took questions from editors in chief and senior media officials in the country on the evolution of the labour market policies in the private sector.

Speaking about the implementation of the Emiratisation policy, Al Awar highlighted that the achievements of milestones in this policy have been closely monitored and transparently communicated with all stakeholders.

He said: “I think that there are successes and we are transparent in our approach. Also, the cases that we deal with show that we measure the objectives transparently, whether they are reached [or not]. We need to see Emiratis in the private sector as efficient employees contributing to the success of their companies and not to look at Emiratisation just in terms of achieving numbers.“

During the meeting, Al Awar highlighted the policies that have been implemented by the Ministry, including the Nafis programme.

Box: What is the Nafis programme?
'Nafis', which literally means ‘compete’ in Arabic, is a federal programme to increase the competitiveness of Emirati human resources and empower them to occupy jobs in the private sector. Launched as part of 'Projects of the 50', the programme aims to accelerate the UAE’s development journey and boost the economy.

Under the Nafis programme, the UAE will spend up to Dh24 billion to employ 75,000 Emiratis in the private sector over 2021 to 2025. It aims for Emiratis to hold 10 per cent of the UAE’s private sector jobs by 2025.

He added that in the first year of its implementation (in 2022), the percentage of compliance among private sector companies with the Emiratisation target was about 85 per cent.

“Imagine achieving this level of implementation in the first year itself,” Dr Al Awar said.

Demand and supply

In response to a question raised by the CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Gulf News Abdul Hamid Ahmad, on the challenges that fresh graduates may face in finding a job that matches their acquired skill set, Dr Al Awar said: “The momentum of Emiratisation broke a lot of barriers, honestly, and we observed that there was a good reception of this by the private sector, which we are happy about. When it comes to Emirati job seekers, firstly, it is the employee who decides whether they accept the first job offer they get or wait to find the job that matches their skill set. At the end of the day it is a job market with supply and demand. We are providing support and I believe that the circumstances are convenient. My advice to fresh graduates would be that a job opportunity is an opportunity to enter a new phase in life. The new life will be explored by the employee, he or she will gain skills and competencies and perhaps they will grow and get promoted, and their success may inspire others.”

Al Awar MOHRE Abdulhamid Ahmad Gulf News CEO and Editor in Chief asks question
CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Gulf News Abdul Hamid Ahmad (right) raises a question during the media meet with Dr. Abdulrahman Abdulmannan Al Awar, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation (first from left).

Expansion of companies required to meet Emiratisation targets

The minister also clarified that the new Cabinet Resolution requiring companies with 20 to 49 employees to also meet Emiratisation targets was not being understood in all of its context.

“The companies required to meet these targets are not all companies - we have narrowed down 14 sectors, under which we have 71 sub-categories and those companies have been selected on the basis of three elements. Firstly, that they have moderate level of skilled employees, which makes it convenient for them to hire UAE nationals. The second is that salaries are moderate and acceptable and thirdly, the stability and growth of companies.”

However, despite these considerations, what happens if companies try to bypass the threshold of 20 employees by employing the services of outsourcing companies?

Responding to this question, Dr Al Awar said that the ministry closely monitors the market and has systems in place which automatically flag any attempts of non-compliance or malpractice when it comes to establishments’ hiring practices.

“We also regularly meet with outsourcing companies to make sure that such practices don’t take place,” he said.

“If there is an instance of manipulation or fraud or falsification there are severe penalties,” he added.

But he also clarified that the ultimate goal of these policies was not to implement fines or penalties but to create healthy best practices within the UAE’s private sector.

“The UAE is an incubator to all nationalities - we want to foster a competitive environment. But a number of job opportunities should also be there for Emiratis,” he said.