DUBAI // More than 150 companies have set up stalls at Careers UAE 2013 in a bid to entice young Emiratis into their industries.
The annual careers exhibition, at the Dubai World Trade Centre, opened yesterday and runs until tomorrow.
This year, there is added pressure on exhibitors to attract top Emirati talent after Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, said 2013 was the “Year of Emiratisation”.
As well as government departments, the private sector has a part to play in Emiratisation, and Careers UAE has increased the number of its private-sector exhibitors by 7 per cent this year.
“Over the past 13 years, Careers UAE has witnessed the growing strength of Emiratisation programmes throughout the UAE, and we are pleased to provide a unique platform to give Emiratis full exposure to dynamic opportunities offered in recruitment, training and education,” said Helal Saeed Almarri, director general of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing and chief executive of Dubai World Trade Centre.
Mubadala’s Aerospace arm, Strata, is at the exhibition looking for Emirati engineers or new high-school graduates to join its technical training programmes.
Emirates Airline said it has 850 positions for Emiratis in various fields. “Emirates Airline has a very good reputation as an employer and we are known to have an excellent training programme. People come to us because we offer a good future for them,” said Nasser bin Kherbash, the divisional senior vice president of human resource development and employee services.
He added that most Emiratis have positions in administration, airports engineering and on a pilot programme. “We now have lady Emirati pilots completing our training course, and we are looking forward to adding them to our crew,” he said.
“Emirates is one of the few organisations that allows young Emiratis employment and training at the same time.”
Aisha Abdulla Ali, 19, was one of the young people attending yesterday. She is about to graduate from secondary school. “I’m not sure what I want to do just yet, I’m to see what my options are,” she said.
“I don’t think it’s too early to look for a job – these days many Emiratis want to work and study. If I find a suitable job, I would love to graduate from college and already have work experience.”
Juma Madani, 33, is already a manager at a financial company but he was looking to benefit from the career fair. “You always have to have an idea of what your value is in the job market. I have a good job but, if I can find a better one, why not?
“Although there seems to be a little less participation, the exhibitors this year seem more eager to hire applicants. In previous years we found that many of them collected CVs, and then nothing happened.”
Private-sector companies were at the exhibition trying to reach a 5 per cent quota for Emiratisation, a figure that has been a struggle for many.
Sharaf Group, the parent company of Sharaf DG stores, collected more than 200 applications by the end of the first day. “We have more than 100 UAE national employees,” said Abdulla Siraj, assistant manager of the Emiratisation department.
Although 100 Emiratis is a high number for any private-sector company, it is still less than 1 per cent of its staff.
“One of the main obstacles we face is the long work hours and the need to have people working odd shifts,” Mr Siraj said.
“Emiratis seem reluctant towards such positions, but we are trying to work something out with the Ministry of Labour.”
Banks have the lion’s share of Emiratis in the private sector. A Ministry of Labour survey from earlier this year showed that 65 per cent of the 22,000 Emirati working in the private sector are in banking.
“Competition is tough in the banking sector,” said Marwan A Khoory, the manager of credit restructuring at First Gulf Bank.
“People choose banking because they know that there are good positions and an excellent opportunity for advancement.”
Mr Khoory said that 31 per cent of the bank’s staff were Emiratis but the company was looking to increase that figure by at least 1 per cent this year.
Today’s morning session is for Emirati women only. Men can attend after 1pm.