x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Competition heats up in the capital

Competition is heating up. As one academy contemplates closing in Abu Dhabi, attracting national talent to worthwhile career choices is proving tougher than expected, but the problem might just help the nation in the long run.

Competition is heating up.

As one academy contemplates closing in Abu Dhabi, attracting national talent is proving tougher than expected - but the problem might just help the nation in the long run.

The Emirates Simulation Academy for training power plant and refinery operators was geared towards preparing Emirati engineers for a future in nuclear safety. At a cost of Dh76 million - no small investment - its possible closure reflects a shift in a supply of talent. Although the academy only began to receive applicants in 2009, declining enrolment has already put the centre's future in doubt, as The National reported yesterday.

It's not that there is a lack of need for this type of job; rather, faced with multiple options, graduates can afford to be more discerning as to where they lay their hat. At the moment, many companies recruit and train Emiratis in-house, or through partnerships with local universities and vocational schools, allowing them an easy transition into the job market upon graduation.

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec), which trains nuclear, chemical, mechanical and electrical engineers, estimates that it will hire up to 2,300 staff by 2020; 60 per cent of those hired may be locally trained Emiratis.

Other Emirates-based institutions offer similar programmes aimed at meeting Abu Dhabi's engineering needs. Most companies require engineers to undertake intensive on-the-job training. In other words, demand is high.

In order to attract potential employees from within the nation, many providers will have to consistently hone the quality of tuition and benefits provided. Incentive packages that include training, which fits around the work-lives of employees, as well as flexible approaches to career enhancement, are among the options on the table.

A competitive workforce environment is bound to keep headhunters and managers on their toes when it comes to recruitment.

And in the long run, a strong, competitive workforce will reap dividends well into the future.