x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Emirati seniors can contribute to private firms

Retired Emiratis should be encouraged to enter the private sector

As much of the developed world ages, the retirement age has become a hotly-contested political issue. Retirement age is often linked to a state pension and the developed world is facing a squeeze as people live longer, facing perhaps 20 or even 30 years of life after retirement, while also having fewer young people in work to pay for public services. This week, Australia announced it planned to raise the retirement age to 70, which would be the highest in the developed world.

In the UAE, without taxation and with a young population, some of those concerns don’t apply, but the question of retirement is still an important one. FNC members last week called for more government bodies to employ retirees, so that seniors could continue to contribute to the country as well as earn a salary. The FNC has also called, earlier this year, for nationals to be allowed to retire, collect their state pension, and then continue to work. All this is rather confusing and seemingly at cross purposes.

There is, certainly, a complex issue here and the FNC could do with making up its mind over where it stands on the matter. Older workers have much to offer the workplace, having accumulated a great deal of valuable experience. At the same time, with many young people waiting for jobs, veteran managers at the top of the organisation will delay the natural evolution of organisations, while those re-entering the workplace after retirement will be competing with those much younger.

There is a way through this, with a role for the Government. As Emiratisation progresses, though still too slowly, retirees could be encouraged to enter the private sector. There they could make valuable contributions to companies while also mentoring younger nationals.

It is the private sector, after all, that will grow fastest in the coming years, keeping pace with a demand for jobs from the newly retired and providing work for other nationals as well. The public sector, by contrast, will be slimmed down. Indeed, a slimmed down bureaucracy is crucial for the efficient functioning of the economy.

By placing retirees in the private sector, the Government will be aiding Emirati talent across the generations: giving the experienced an opportunity to continue contributing, while giving the younger workers opportunities to grow and expand their careers.