Emirates Global Aluminium, the UAE’s biggest industrial company outside the oil and gas sector, is increasing the number of women in supervisory roles at the firm to improve gender diversity and access a wider talent pool of female employees.
EGA, equally owned by Mubadala and Investment Corporation of Dubai, plans to increase the proportion of women in supervisory positions at its operations in the UAE to 25 per cent by 2025, from the current 18 per cent, it said in a statement on Thursday.
"We recognise that setting a target is just the beginning," said EGA chief executive Abdulnasser bin Kalban. "To achieve it, we will develop further our inclusive leadership and culture, and focus on developing and progressing our high performing female employees.”
The comments came ahead of Emirati Women's Day on August 28. This will be the annual event's sixth year and, with 2021 marking the UAE's Year of the 50th, Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak has announced that the theme this year theme will be "Women: Ambitions & Inspiration for the Next 50 Years".
“Improving diversity enhances business performance," Mr Kalban said. "Although we have made considerable progress at EGA, we recognise that we need to do more."
The company tracks gender balance in recruitment, retention and succession planning.
“The UAE is one of only a few countries in the world where more women than men graduate with degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics," said Iman Al Qasim, EGA's executive vice president of human capital. "It is important to our future success that EGA recruits and retains the most able people from this talent pool and focuses on embedding gender diversity goals in our long-term human capital vision.”
EGA is rolling out a mentoring programme for women – led by senior executives in the company – focused on personal development and career growth.
Last year the company launched the EGA Women’s Network, a forum for women at all levels of the company to share their achievements and challenges.
EGA is a partner of Aurora50, a UAE initiative to build the pipeline of women with the experience required for board-level positions. Six positions on subsidiary boards within EGA have been filled by women since the start of 2021.
"The 25 per cent target is a great step in the right direction and I am confident that we will be able to further build on this with the initiatives that EGA is putting in place to support and develop women," said Katherine Hahm, EGA General Counsel and the company's head of compliance and company secretary, as well as chairwoman of the Women’s Network.
In March, the Securities and Commodities Authority said listed companies in the UAE now need to have at least one female director on their boards.
The move is one of many being taken to boost female representation at the highest levels of UAE business. Earlier this year, the Central Bank of the UAE signed an agreement with Aurora50, which was co-founded by Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa, aimed at increasing the number of women on the boards of public and private UAE companies. The two entities said they would promote the exchange of information and build a strong pipeline of female talent.