Dubai: A major retail company in the UAE claims it was offered an award at a regional award ceremony in Dubai, provided it would cough up $8,000 in sponsorships.

Disclosing this to XPRESS, the company’s HR manager said the company had thrown its hat in the ring for two separate awards – best employer and best talent – in the hope that it would get selected.

All fixed

“But days before the award ceremony last week, the organisers called me and said our company would be assured a third place for best employer and would figure in the top five shortlist for managing talent if we paid up the said amount. We were told that the first two places had already been taken up.” He said the company did not oblige with the request. “Sure enough our applications were rejected,” said the HR manager.

Sponsors take all

He said it was no surprise that those who were chosen for the awards in the eight-10 categories were all sponsors in some form.

Western media reports have pointed to several such “vanity awards” across the globe in the past.

Typically, the awardees buy their way in, with the eventual honour made to sound legitimate. The phoney awards are said to prey on businesses that are desperately trying to build an image for themselves.