x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Emiratis impress with drive and energy

The Life: Maha Al Mansouri, the associate director for human resources and Emiratisation at Masdar explains how the company is implementing its policy of boosting the number of Emirati employees.

Maha Al Mansouri, the associate director for human resources and Emiratisation at Masdar. Lee Hoagland / The National
Maha Al Mansouri, the associate director for human resources and Emiratisation at Masdar. Lee Hoagland / The National

Maha Al Mansouri, the associate director for human resources and Emiratisation at Masdar, joined the renewable energy company in 2007. Here, she explains how the company is implementing its policy of boosting the number of Emirati employees.

Is Emiratisation important for Masdar?

Since the start of Masdar back in 2007, Emiratisation has been a high priority. Our aim is to attract UAE nationals, keep them motivated and retain them in the organisation. We have around 250 employees in the company today and 40 per cent are UAE nationals. This has risen from 25 per cent in 2007. Our target for next year is 50 per cent.

Does the fact that Masdar is government-owned make it easier to recruit Emiratis?

Yes, this is a reason. The other reason is Masdar's brand - it has a very strong brand internationally. Also, UAE nationals [are attracted] by the package they get.

We reach out to students in colleges and universities and even schools. We offer intern opportunities for students and every year we take around 20 to 40 students - mainly UAE nationals, but we do accept expatriate students as well.

And are Emiratis present at higher grades in the company?

We have five grading levels at Masdar: senior management, management, middle management, professional and support level. We have the highest number of Emiratis at middle management level, but out of our seven senior managers, we have three UAE nationals. We have a very strong career progression programme for UAE employees. As a result of that programme, a number of employees followed their careers and reached higher positions.

One of them is the chief financial officer, Mohamed Al Rahimi; one is Dr Nawal Al Hosany, the director of the Zayed Future Energy Prize; and one is myself.

We are very proud to send talents to other organisations: we have employees seconded to work for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the UK government, another who is attached to work at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the UAE, and we have some employees seconded to work at Irena, the International Renewable Energy Agency.

What about your male-to-female ratio?

Males are dominating a higher percentage of the organisation. The ratio is 60:40 or 70:30. But Masdar doesn't differentiate between men and women when it comes to work. Everyone who excels in their work is given the opportunity and we have so many women leaders in this organisation, such as Dr Al Hosany.

And what are the main challenges you face?

The efforts that different companies are making to attract UAE nationals is a challenge to us. A lot of people come to Masdar, then two or three years down the line they think of going to a new company that was recently established by the Abu Dhabi Government.

Ms Al Mansouri will participate in a panel discussion on Emiratisation at the HR Summit and Expo 2012 in Dubai from November 18 to 22.

lgutcher@thenational.ae