x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Companies to be rated according to how 'Emirati-friendly' they are

Great Place to Work list will issue a special index of private sector companies that welcome Emiratis.

Mohammed Hamza Al Qasimi, who works for a private French oil company, enjoys a coffee in Paris. A new Great Place to Work list will rate private sector companies that welcome Emiratis.
Mohammed Hamza Al Qasimi, who works for a private French oil company, enjoys a coffee in Paris. A new Great Place to Work list will rate private sector companies that welcome Emiratis.

DUBAI // The search is on to find private companies that are the most inviting for Emirati employees.

A list is being compiled by the Great Place to Work (GPTW) institute in the UAE, which will conduct surveys to sort the best from the average.

GPTW-UAE is part of a global research and consultancy group that releases an annual list of the best places to work in the world, and in 45 countries.

The Great Places for Emiratis to Work index is a new sub-list of their annual survey, which will highlight companies with strong Emiratisation programmes in various sectors.

"We want to highlight the diversity of disciplines available to Emiratis," said Dr Farrukh Kidwai, the chief executive of GPTW-UAE.

"This will broaden the avenue for them to participate in the private sector and hopefully boost the knowledge economy in the UAE."

A paper by Ingo Forstenlechner and Emilie Rutledge from UAE University, published in the Middle East Policy Journal last summer, showed Emiratis account for only 4 per cent of the private sector workforce.

Nadia Salameh, a consultant who specialises in Emiratisation at Cobalt Recruitment, said Emiratis were most likely to take up private-sector jobs in human resources, marketing, engineering, business management and organisational development.

"Emiratis should believe from an early age they can work in any field," Ms Salameh said. "Companies that encourage continued learning are the most successful in Emiratisation."

The normal GPTW-UAE list is drawn up according to two scores.

A "trust" survey is completed by all employees to measure aspects such as camaraderie, respect and pride, and accounts for two thirds of the final score. A second survey quizzes management and HR to gauge the corporate culture.

The Great Places for Emiratis to Work list will only take the corporate cultural audit into account, as many companies may not have many national employees but do have excellent Emiratisation programmes at management level.

"There are companies that have impressive programmes regarding Emiratisation and we want to communicate those to the wider public, as they are doing outstanding work," he said.

Mohammed Hamza Al Qasimi said his experience in working for the French oil company Total helped him to develop many skills.

Mr Al Qasimi was recently sent to Paris to oversee a project related to a challenging oilfield in the Middle East. "The international experience I've gained from my assignment in Paris is not only beneficial on a personal level," he said.

"I am really looking forward to more challenges in my career in France and by absorbing those challenges I will be able to return the favour to my country, and bring new and innovative ideas in the development of UAE oil and gasfields."

Mr Al Qasimi was chosen for an internship while studying for his bachelor of applied sciences at the University of Waterloo in Canada. He did an internship at the Abu Dhabi office of Total in 2004.

"I was given a challenging project in the geosciences domain," he said. "I was a bit worried but the confidence management placed in me made me realise I was up to the challenge."

The company then offered him a scholarship to complete a Masters of Science at Institut Francais du Petrole in France before he joined Total full-time in 2009.

Suaad Al Hajri, 33, who has 12 years' experience in the private sector and now works at a senior level in treasury and cash management for Aldar Properties, said the workplace was challenging at first because of the misconception private companies had about Emiratis.

"I tried my best to work hard and prove myself," she said. "I was so lucky that my management noticed me and gave me all the chances to develop my career, motivate me and give me all the delegation I needed to get the job done.

"If you want to be successful in your career you have to take the charge of your own growth. Ask for specific and meaningful help and plot out your personally developed plans and goals."

Companies older than two years that employ more than 50 people may register to be included on the GPTW-UAE list until October 31.

The list will be published next February.