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UAE giants throw down gauntlet in Emiratisation push

Majid Al Futtaim, Emirates NBD and Jumeirah have all signalled their intent to drive Emirati employment, with more companies expected to follow


UAE giants Emirates NBD and Jumeirah Group are the latest companies to announce new programs to drive Emiratisation – and they won’t be the last, according to a leading business expert.

It comes after Dubai-based shopping malls, communities, retail and leisure pioneer, Majid Al Futtaim, announced a plan to hire 3,000 Emiratis, which was welcomed by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announcing on Twitter that the company will have priority for government contracts.

And according to Scott Cairns, founder and managing director of Creation Business Consultants, this will just be the start of a renewed push towards Emiratisation, which is a key pillar of the UAE’s economic diversification agenda.

“Following on from the announcement that the UAE government will give preferential treatment to Majid Al Futtaim when it comes to awarding government contracts, we expect this to be the first in a line of large businesses with similar offerings,” Cairns told Arabian Business.

“Majid Al Futtaim have set a high bar for other large employers located within the UAE to follow, as it encourages a focus on building skills.”

Jumeirah Group has launched its UAE National Internship Programme to drive Emiratisation and nurture local talent to become future industry leaders and experienced innovators in the tourism and hospitality sectors, a statement from the company said.

While Emirates NBD’s new Ruwad graduate program will provide Emiratis with on-the-job training and skill development, and Ruwad graduates will “be accelerated into a leadership position, based on their career ambitions to directly build the bank’s leadership pipeline”, the bank said.

Earlier this month, the UAE said it would spend AED24 billion ($6.5bn) on a package of benefits and subsidies designed to make private sector jobs more attractive for nationals.

The new Nafis program, launched as part of the UAE’s Projects of the 50 campaign, “is meant to support the employment of Emirati nationals in the private sector, and will lead to building a new generation of talented national competencies characterised by competitiveness, flexibility and diversity of professional experiences”, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Nafis emphasises boosting productivity and skills of Emiratis and expanding their “scientific and knowledge perceptions”.

“The push for greater Emirati participation in the private sector has long been a goal of the government. This latest program entitled Nafis is the most overt step yet by the government to encourage large business to back some of the new initiatives,” Cairns said.

UAE nationals made up 7.46 percent of the country’s entire workforce as of 2020, with only 3.78 percent in the private sector, according to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.

Emiratisation, which has been on the government’s agenda for decades, has hastened in recent years with new initiatives rolled out, including the subsidies package that will look to create 75,000 new private sector jobs for UAE nationals. Other efforts include the formation of the Emirati Human Resources Development Council in Dubai, which was tasked with creating a 100-day action plan to boost locals’ employment.

Source: Arabian Business