x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Emiratis shunning public sector, too

A special team is investigating why emiratisation policies have not attracted more Emiratis to the public sector.

A special team is investigating why emiratisation policies have not attracted more Emiratis to the public sector. At a meeting on Monday to evaluate federal ministries, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, expressed his displeasure with the poor progress on the emiratisation of the public sector. Sheikh Mohammed noted, according to the state news agency, WAM, "that the emiratisation level did not exceed 54 per cent in ministries and 25 per cent in federal authorities".

Sheikh Mohammed formed a team to determine which factors had affected emiratisation in the public sector and to present recommendations for better ways to address the problem. A study conducted earlier this month by UAE University in Al Ain examined the challenges to the emiratisation drive. Dr Ingo Forstenlechner, assistant professor at the college of business and economics, said it came down to the public sector's not having the incentive to hire Emiratis over expatriates.

"In general we know the issue is about compensation, education and training," he said. Research conducted by the university, he said, concluded that salary expectations had to be lowered. "It would make Emiratis more competitive." The university also conducted research into attitudes among young people towards job seeking and found that respondents ranked employee rights, job security, working hours and advancement opportunities as more important than salary level, although their salary expectations were also higher than market rates.

Most of the Emiratis who were questioned had little confidence in their ability to thrive in private companies and were "overwhelmed" at the thought of competing for jobs against applicants from all over the world, the researchers said. In the meeting on Monday, Sheikh Mohammed praised the Ministry of Public Works and the Sheikh Zayed Housing Project as the best performing in their respective categories. Sheikh Mohammed criticised the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs for the lack of training among federal employees. According to WAM, training did not exceed six hours per employee. Sheikh Mohammed further called for an agency to instil work values as a way of creating job satisfaction.

A separate committee set up by the Federal National Council to examine emiratisation in the public and private sectors concluded a series of meetings yesterday. The committee is to present the FNC with recommendations on ways to encourage more Emiratis to work in the public and private sectors. myoussef@thantional.ae