Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 October 2019

Emirates launches drive to recruit more Emirati cabin crew

Carrier is offers enhanced salary of up to Dh23,000 to attract more citizens

Salaries for Emirati cabin crew will start at Dh18,000 plus a monthly 'retention allowance' of Dh5,000. Phil Noble / Reuters
Salaries for Emirati cabin crew will start at Dh18,000 plus a monthly 'retention allowance' of Dh5,000. Phil Noble / Reuters

Emirates Airline has launched a recruitment drive to boost numbers of Emiratis among its workforce.

More than 20,000 cabin crew represent the carrier, but only about 50 are UAE citizens.

To attract more Emirati talent to cabin crew positions, Abdulaziz Ali, executive vice president of human resources at Emirates Group, said it has introduced new uniform items to its line, including trousers for female hostesses and plans to allow hijabs, as well as attractive salary packages.

Speaking at a roundtable discussion on Wednesday, Mr Ali said Emirates has more than 3,200 jobs currently open to applicants, with “the majority for cabin crew positions”.

After six months they will get a salary increase and they have the opportunity to apply for different job grades within cabin crew

Abdulaziz Ali, Emirates Airline

“We need more UAE nationals,” he said.

“The role hasn’t received much interest from Emiratis because some have expressed concern over what the position entails.”

Frequent travel, issues with uniform and conflicts with serving alcohol on board are some of the main reasons putting UAE nationals off applying for the position, he said.

“Regarding uniform, we now have a trouser option for Emirati female cabin crew and we are looking to adapt the hijab too,” said Mr Ali.

He said Emirati cabin crew would receive a basic starting salary of Dh18,000 per month.

While many Emiratis tend to want to travel within the GCC countries, he said it would be harder to accommodate such requests.

“Travel frequency is a little harder to address, given the nature of the job and the complex scheduling involved.

Emirates Airline is stepping up efforts to increase its Emirati workforce.
Emirates Airline is stepping up efforts to increase its Emirati workforce

“But it’s a really essential job, a job that represents the high standards of Emirates Airline. We need more UAE nationals to represent the airline on board.

“The minimum wage for cabin crew is about Dh18,000 and included in that sum is an accommodation allowance,” he said.

Emirati recruits would also receive a retention allowance of between Dh4,260 to Dh5,000 per month.

“After six months they will get a salary increase and they have the opportunity to apply for different job grades within cabin crew,” he said.

The total training time for cabin crew is five weeks.

On the Emirates Group career website, a starting salary for a cabin crew member is listed as Dh4,260, with additional flying pay of Dh61.25 per hour, based on an average of 80 to 100 hours per month, taking this amount to an average of Dh9,770 per month.

Last month, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, wrote an open letter that addressed government work and ways to improve Emiratisation across the board.

“The number of complaints against Emiratisation have increased and we hear it,” Sheikh Mohammed wrote.

“Providing jobs for Emiratis was and remains a priority.”

The UAE Government launched the Emiratisation campaign to overcome the structural division in the labour market. It mandates the inclusion of Emiratis in the job sector, particularly in the private sector.

The call to action has seen many government and private sector organisations respond to the request to boost the size of their Emirati workforce.

Mr Ali said Emiratisation is an integral part of the Emirates Group strategy and the airline is continuously working on ways to “recruit, retain and develop UAE nationals”.

To date, the airline employs more than 3,000 Emiratis across 27 different departments, including 677 flight operations roles (including pilots, cadets and air traffic controllers); 556 engineers; 475 on-ground operations roles and 224 working in IT.

Talking about its latest Emiratisation recruitment drive, Mr Ali said some jobs appeal to UAE nationals and some don’t.

“UAE nationals don’t tend to go for positions like typing, baggage handling because they want a position that allows them to climb the career ladder.”

So the challenge is broadening that appeal.

For fresh high school graduates looking to enter the work force, Emirates has seven training programmes which young Emiratis can join, including the aviation management and cadet pilot programmes.

“The four-year training cost is covered by Emirates and the graduates are placed in a suitable job role once qualified,” he said.

The company also offers two training programmes for university graduates.

To date, more than 100 Emiratis are enrolled across all its training programmes. The cost to train each candidate in the pilot programme (two-ear course) and engineers programme (five-year course) is Dh1.3 million and Dh1.4 million, respectively.

Updated: September 26, 2019 04:25 AM

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