Abdulmuttalib al Hashimi is the managing director of Next Level, an employment consultancy that helps businesses promote Emiratisation.
Why is Emiratisation important?
The way I see it is that in any country the government is supposed to provide key requirements to its people: health, education, employment and security. Employment is crucial to any country but in the UAE you have the indigenous people, the Emiratis, who are a minority. So the government has a particular commitment to help them find employment.
How is Emiratisation economically positive?
When Emiratis find employment, the standard of living in the country rises because they invest here. The expatriate community sends billions of dirhams back home but when Emiratis invest in something like property, the investment tends to be in the UAE.
How do companies help with Emiratisation?
There's a responsibility to employ nationals. In terms of corporate social responsibility there are many companies that insist HR departments employ locals.
If you push employment for Emiratis, is there a possibility that you do not get the right people in the right roles?
Yes, definitely. There is a danger of this happening.
What is the solution?
The recruitment needs to be thorough. But also, it is very difficult to know what you want to do at 19, so Emiratis should experiment with different jobs. Graduates should be given good career counselling.
What if, even after a thorough process, Emiratis are disaffected with their positions?
We are not asking companies to do anything different when dealing with disaffected employees. Often, the fear that employers cannot terminate Emirati contracts makes it less likely that the company will take them on in the first place. Managers should be mentors and try to deal with unfulfilled employees.
What else needs to be done?
Emiratis need to know the end goal. Many Emiratis are not just driven by salary. Yes, there are some that are unrealistic in their pay expectations but many want a clear and interesting career path that they can discuss with family and friends.
How can the private sector do more to attract Emirati talent?
I think branding of employers is important for Emiratis. Companies that have been successful in the UAE tend to brand themselves as employers of choice. They are heavily involved in the community and the Emiratis they recruit are current or potential customers.