More companies in the Gulf are hiring and expanding their workforces, although many firms have yet to tap a growing pool of Emiratis who are entering the local labour market.
At present there are about 330,000 nationals within the UAE's job market, but that figure is projected to rise dramatically due, in part, to recent government initiatives in reforming the region's educational system with a focus on innovation and entrepreneurship.
By 2020, some 450,000 nationals are expected to be part of the labour force, and by 2050 that figure is projected to rise to 600,000, according to a recent report from the consultancy Towers Watson examining the talent supply of the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Yet estimates for the unemployment level among Emiratis in the UAE have ranged from 13 per cent to almost 20 per cent, according to data from the National Human Resource Development & Employment Authority as well as the National Bureau of Statistics.
"If you have a growing population, and a growing labour force at a macro level, you need to employ these people," says Zaki Zahran, an economist with Towers Watson who worked on the UAE report. "What are you going to do about it?"
Female nationals tend to have a higher unemployment rate than their male counterparts.
Yet many of them are qualified for new positions, at least academically, given that there are far more female university graduates than male.
Long-term projections from Towers show the number of female workers will more than double over the next four decades.
At the same time, more Emirati men are expected to leave school early in pursuit of job opportunities that may not require as much advanced education.
Projections are one thing. But the effects of these changing dynamics are already being felt on the ground. Each year, between 2,000 and 3,000 women graduate from UAE University, compared with fewer than 500 men.
"This is what makes us wonder what happens to the women," says Dr Fatima Al Sayegh, an associate professor at UAE University's faculty of humanities and social sciences. "Where do they go? If they go to the workplace, will they get equal opportunities?"
Experts say organisations both in the private and public sector can attract - and retain - more Emiratis by offering career development opportunities and tailoring programmes towards individual aspirations.
"Companies that build that, and have flexibility to respond to different parts of the workforce in specific ways - and sustain that - are clearly going to experience lower levels of employees who voluntarily leave," says David Zinn, a senior consultant for Towers based in Dubai.
One issue, some say, is that too many organisations expect jobseekers to come in with advanced skills but are not willing to invest in the programmes needed to nurture employees.
"Some companies try to take the newcomers, train them and invest in them," says Dr Al Sayegh. But others, she warns, "want employees to come to them already with experience".
Some nationals are also pursuing higher-level education overseas, which has expanded the global talent pool of Emiratis. More than 7,000 Emiratis were enrolled in tertiary education programmes overseas last year, according to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.
Certain companies in the UAE are now creating initiatives to help access any of those individuals who may be potential jobseekers.
Last month, the online career recruiter MonsterGulf.com launched a "Return2Home" programme targeting non-resident Emiratis who live elsewhere but may be looking to return.
The initiative was created to support the Government's goal to provide skilled positions for nationals and will help companies looking to hire locals from across the globe by targeting those jobseekers currently living in places such as the UK, North America, India and other countries throughout South East Asia.
"The initiative supports UAE Government's campaign of increasing the participation of Emiratis in the corporate world," says Sanjay Modi, the managing director for Monster.com in the Middle East, South East Asia and India.
"The biggest challenge faced by the industry is the current skill-gap scenario," Mr Modi adds.
"This initiative plugs that gap effectively. Investment by the Government in the technology space like IT, energy, infrastructure, is creating viable opportunities for Emirati diaspora to deploy their skills and expertise."
Globally, Monster.com is reaching out to Emiratis living abroad by running advertisements targeted specifically at them, as well as sending direct mail to those registered jobseekers who have indicated an interest in returning to the UAE. By the end of last year, MonsterGulf.com had registered about 22,700 non-resident nationals from the Gulf, including about 1,300 Emiratis.
Yet gauging interest from nationals living abroad will largely depend on which sectors have experienced greater levels of hiring than others. The recent boost in tourism to the UAE, driven in part by the unrest in nearby countries, has increased the demand for professional and managerial level employees in the retail and consumer electronics space more than any other.
Those sectors that align more closely with the Government's push for a highly skilled, knowledge-based economy include the software and hardware technology industries. Both areas have performed well.
Between 74 and 84 per cent of tech firms in the Middle East, depending on their speciality, say they are hiring employees for professional or managerial roles, according to a survey released last week by Antal, an international recruitment firm.
In the Emirates, specifically, 59 per cent of companies say they are currently hiring for more advanced positions, while 68 per cent say they plan to over the next three months.
"Now, everybody is looking at the future with optimism and [businesses] want to refill the roles which they had cut down during the last few quarters," says Nizar Lallani, the chief executive and country manager in the UAE for Antal.