Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 19 October 2019

Emiratisation will help build a post-oil future

Government will create 20,000 jobs for Emiratis but international workforce still vital to economy

Sheikh Mohammed at a monthly Cabinet meeting. Courtesy: Dubai Media Office / Sheikh Mohammed's Twitter
Sheikh Mohammed at a monthly Cabinet meeting. Courtesy: Dubai Media Office / Sheikh Mohammed's Twitter

When the private sector and state insitutions work hand in hand, great things can be achieved. The announcement by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, at a Cabinet meeting on Sunday is firmly rooted in this belief, with incentives for companies that support Emiratisation efforts, while those firms that do not meet their quotas will be expected to financially contribute to the government’s Emiratisation programme. The raft of measures will involve the creation of 20,000 new jobs for Emiratis in the next three years, in fields ranging from banking and insurance to aviation and property.

The initiative includes a Dh300 million fund to train 18,000 Emirati jobseekers. Emiratis will be prioritised when it comes to hiring for managerial positions within government institutions and 160 ranked positions in the private sector, which have yet to be announced.

Emiratisation, introduced in the UAE a decade ago, gives a mandate to companies and organisations to increase the number of citizens in their workforces, particularly in the private sector. It is pivotal to the UAE’s Vision 2021 plan and a transition from oil dependence to a knowledge-based economy. At its heart is a drive to boost skills and talent throughout the workforce. Traditionally Emiratis have been more drawn to public sector posts offering greater security and benefits. Sheikh Mohammed’s announcement levels the playing field by promising guaranteed benefits, such as pensions, in the private sector as well. It means every company with more than 100 employees will be obliged to meet quotas and offer competitive perks.

The policy is clearly working; in October last year, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation announced a doubling of Emiratis recruited in the private sector compared to the year before. These efforts are not contradictory to recruiting and retaining a skilled international workforce. Instead, as Sheikh Mohammed said: “Talent is what establishes a strong and diversified economy that provides great opportunities for citizens and residents.''

A strong knowledge economy, based on the best skills and expertise from around the world, can only be achieved by the public and private sector working in unison. But Emiratisation is only one component of plans for a post-oil economy. As important is an environment that fosters and nurtures creativity and entrepreneurship, and rewards those who have contributed to making the country a better place for all its residents. One such initiative was the launch in May of the Golden Card scheme offering permanent residency to those who have devoted their lives to enhancing services in the UAE and shaping the country. Among the first recipients were Lulu Group’s chairman Yusuff Ali and Mama Zulekha, the UAE doctor who delivered 10,000 children in her 55-year career.

In addition to improving job opportunities, the government has also approved an increase in its 2020 federal budget - which was already the largest UAE budget ever rolled out - a move which is bound to create more jobs and further improve government services.

The UAE is home to 200 nationalities and has the largest migrant population in the world, according to the World Economic Forum. Every year, the nation’s booming economy attracts thousands of talented people from all over the globe. Their valuable contribution to this country’s greatness is unrivalled. Attracting and retaining international talent goes hand in hand with providing more opportunities for citizens to actively partake in their country’s success story. These two drivers are the cornerstones of a knowledge-based economy and are key to securing a more inclusive future, where everyone can contribute to the UAE’s growth and prosperity.

Updated: September 30, 2019 07:05 PM

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