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Flexible working means employees can 'have their cake and eat it too' - especially women

The pandemic has taught us that giving flexible working hours and work-from-home policies means employees, especially women

Flexible working means employees can 'have their cake and eat it too' - especially women
The UAE has emphasised increasing the number of women in the workforce.

For women, trying to balance a career in the highly competitive private sector with family demands can be overwhelming.

But the pandemic has taught us that giving flexible working hours and work-from-home policies means employees, especially women, “can have their cake and eat it too,” Fahad Kazim, partner, advisory and head of Emiratization at KPMG Lower Gulf told Arabian Business.

In the UAE, 70 percent of university graduates are women, and 56 percent of graduates in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) courses are women. And while the workforce is made up of 52 percent women, there are still educated women outside the workforce, or women who initially enter the workforce and then return home to raise a family.



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“[With greater flexibility] you are able to get the experience and exposure, and at the same time you’re also getting a bit of that flexibility of being able to command your own time,” Kazim said. “This is not only applicable to Emirati women, which it definitely is, but it’s applicable across the organisation.”

The UAE has emphasised increasing the number of women in the workforce, but more broadly it is also looking to increase the percent of locals in the private sector.

Official statistics from 2018 (the most recent year for which figures are available) show that just 0.5 percent of the private sector workforce was made up of Emiratis, compared to 60 percent of the public sector.

With a bloated public workforce, the UAE – alongside other Gulf countries – have sought to diversify the work force and encourage more people to enter the private sector.

Emiratization and private sector job creation is part of the UAE government’s Vision 2021, but the challenge lies in convincing Emiratis to pursue a career in the private sector.

Fahad Kazim, partner, advisory and head of Emiratization at KPMG Lower Gulf.
Kazim said that KPMG has launched internship programs to help raise awareness of what a career in the private sector can offer. Beyond getting people in the door, upskilling and training for mid-career professionals is also required.

“Today we have the private sector having to play a bigger role within that job ecosystem. We need to start pulling in numbers, we need to start contributing in terms of employing,” Kazim said.

The UAE, through its In-Country Value (ICV) Certification process, has actively sought to diversify the local economy, strengthen supply chains, increase Emiratization in the private sector and transfer technology knowledge to the local companies.

“It is a great program that has been set up to encourage the private sector to be a bigger contributor to the economy. And what this has done is it has created jobs, created opportunities, increased investments in the local economy. So there have been many benefits that have come out of this,” Kazim said.

Source: Arabian Business