What roles are Emiratis being hired for in the private sector?

UAE citizens are keen to pursue their careers in sectors such as education, information and communication, and social work, survey finds

There are 95,000 Emiratis employed by the private sector, according to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation. Photo: Sharjah Job Fair
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Employers in the UAE are seeking to boost Emiratisation in the private sector by hiring citizens mainly for roles in customer service, sales and marketing, and operations, a survey has revealed.

Emirati job seekers have shown interest in sectors such as education, health and social work, and information and communication, showed the study by staffing and human resources solutions company Tasc Outsourcing, conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.

The survey polled about 5,000 citizens, both employed and unemployed, and 600 organisations in January and February.

Emiratis predominantly work in the finance and insurance, administrative and support services, and education sectors, the survey found.

The survey's findings were released in Dubai on Monday as a part of an Emiratisation guidebook unveiled by Tasc Outsourcing and the ministry.

“Our mandates to look for Emirati candidates have increased by almost 10x over the last two years,” said Abbas Ali, chief growth officer at Tasc Outsourcing.

The ministry is leading a nationwide push to increase the participation of citizens in the private sector, which is viewed as a major driver of the economy.

There are 95,000 Emiratis employed by the private sector, according to the latest figures from the ministry.

The Emirati employment rate at private companies with more than 50 employees will increase to 6 per cent by the end of this year, 8 per cent in 2025 and 10 per cent in 2026.

Smaller businesses with 20 to 49 employees must hire at least one citizen by the end of 2024 and another by 2025.

The requirement applies to privately owned companies in 14 sectors, including property, education, construction and health care.

Challenges include a mind shift among employers and an understanding when it comes to hiring Emiratis for the right roles, Mr Ali says.

The survey found that a major challenge faced by employers is the alignment of salary offers with Emirati job seekers’ expectations, with 37.9 per cent of companies polled citing this to be their primary obstacle in recruiting UAE citizens.

About 64 per cent of Emirati job seekers highlighted the challenge of finding a suitable role, with about one in four concerned with finding roles that match their salary expectations, the survey revealed.

Seven in 10 Emirati job seekers said they were open to both public and private sector opportunities and voiced a clear preference for job security, career development and work-life balance in choosing an employer.

Employer brand and remote working options are also significant factors for job seekers, the survey found.

More than half (57.3 per cent) of Emirati job seekers polled said they preferred not to relocate for work.

This highlights the importance of employers offering more flexible work arrangements to be able to attract UAE citizens from different emirates, according to the guidebook.

Meanwhile, 60 per cent of employed Emiratis said they were looking for roles that align with a better purpose, which may indicate a desire for meaningful work that contributes to personal and national development, it said.

'Every company' in the UAE will soon employ an Emirati

'Every company' in the UAE will soon employ an Emirati

Eight in 10 employers are seeking to hire UAE citizens who are “freshers” (zero to two years of experience), while candidates with moderate experience (three to eight years) are also in demand, the survey found.

“There are companies like e& who are hiring Emiratis as junior sales staff in shops. Emirati young graduates are very enthusiastic to take entry-level jobs, and there are almost 24,000 students passing out every year, so there's a huge supply as well,” Mr Ali said.

“Large conglomerates are hiring a lot of Emiratis and we also see robust recruitment within tourism and travel, e-commerce and trade, as well.”

More than half of the employers polled are looking to hire UAE citizens on a permanent basis while 31.8 per cent are open to a mix of both contractual and permanent hiring practices.

About 37.6 per cent of Emiratis expect a salary increase of 10 per cent and more this year while 23.7 per cent expect a wage increase between 8 per cent and 10 per cent, and 19.5 per cent look forward to a more conservative raise between 5 per cent and 8 per cent, the survey data showed.

Only 19 per cent of employees do not foresee any salary increase this year.

“For junior and entry-level roles, salaries for Emiratis in the private sector are getting better. In some client-facing or business development roles in the private sector, the variable pay is very lucrative and occasionally better than in the public sector,” Mr Ali said.

“But the perception of job security is, of course, higher in the public sector.”

Top job roles for UAE citizens

  • Customer service and support roles
  • Engineering and technical specialists
  • Health care professionals
  • Sales and real estate experts
  • Educational roles
  • Administrative and operational staff

Source: TASC Outsourcing

Updated: May 14, 2024, 3:35 AM