Dubai: Private sector employers are attracting more UAE nationals as part of their ongoing Emiratisation drive, which includes fast-track career progression, flexible work conditions, and more vacancies, they said at the Careers UAE job fair in Dubai on Sunday.
Most Emiratis prefer government jobs because of shorter work hours, more holidays and more comprehensive health insurance, among other reasons, when compared to the private sector.
Private companies said they are trying to match some of the perceived benefits of the public sector, besides offering fast-track career paths on the back of training programmes.
Their comments came during Sunday’s launch of the 17th edition of Careers UAE, being held until Tuesday at Dubai World Trade Centre.
The event was officially inaugurated by Shaikh Ahmad Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who toured the stands representing companies and government entities.
Careers UAE is held under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Hind Al Attar, head of Human Resources at Noor Bank in Dubai, said: “We are reviewing all our benefits as of today to see how we can make them more competitive, not only with competing banks but also with the public sector. So we’re trying to introduce some of the things you find as benefits in the public sector, which you don’t usually find in the banking industry.”
Al Attar, an Emirati who has been with the bank for 10 years, did not specify the benefits as they are still under study. However, she said “we will look at everything — from leave, flexi hours, insurance; everything.”
She added that the benefits would help the bank compete more favourably for Emirati talent.
“We have around 100 vacancies this year, which includes 30 of the management associates, part of the Imtiyaz programme focused on hiring the fresh graduates on a fast-track accelerator programme for them to attain leadership position in different kinds of fields in banks, where you don’t find a lot of UAE nationals, such as treasury, investment banking, risk management, credit, etc”
More than a third — 37 per cent — of the 142 Emiratis working at Noor Bank are already in managerial positions or higher, Al Attar said.
Asim Amiri, Emiratisation business partner at the Al Futtaim business conglomerate, said an advantage of the private sector was a relatively faster career progression pathway. He mentioned an example of an Emirati trainee who became a manager in three years.
“The chance to grow also depends on the person; how much he or she is willing to give back and go the extra mile … In the public sector, the chance to grow takes longer, depending on the department,” Asim added.
He also cited another instance where an Emirati saleswoman with no experience or English-language skills was able to progress as the store manager in 14 years at a major British retailer.
Al Futtaim employs over 650 Emiratis and is seeking through Careers UAE to fill 25 current roles with UAE nationals, besides offering 30 fresh graduate opportunities within its different businesses.
Mahesh Shahdadpuri, CEO and founder of TASC Outsourcing, a leading talent management company licensed by UAE government to outsource professionals as contract staff to clients across the country, said Emiratis make up roughly 1.5 per cent of the private workforce in the UAE. The government is gearing up efforts to ensure UAE nationals will make up five per cent of private workforce in the country by 2020.
He said the government sector continues to be more popular among the UAE nationals. “However, we are witnessing a growing change wherein UAE nationals are now more open to working in the private sector. Millennial UAE nationals are more geared towards career progression, gaining experience, learning opportunities and growth, which is faster in private sector. On the organisation’s side too, there has been an increase in demand for local talent. Their first preference is to hire UAE nationals, partly due to various government initiatives and partly due to availability of growing talent resource within the region,” Shahdadpuri added.
Careers UAE 2017
What: Job fair exclusively for Emiratis
Where: Dubai World Trade Centre, Halls 4-8
When: April 9-11