Visitors attend a career fair in Dubai in March. The private sector has been urged to help more Emiratis to get into the workforce. Jeff Topping / The National
Visitors attend a career fair in Dubai in March. The private sector has been urged to help more Emiratis to get into the workforce. Jeff Topping / The National

The case for Emiratisation



Workforces across the country are to welcome 20,000 Emiratis as a part of the recently launched Absher Initiative, which calls on the private sector to take part in advancing Emiratisation.

The initiative is based on four pillars: job creation, training, encouraging nationals to join the private sector and launching strategic partnerships. Because most leaders in the private sector have not had the privilege of working with Emiratis, let's discuss what to do when they join your team.

First of all, leaders need to defy the myths, which the market is ripe with.

As is common with myths, many here are unfounded, fabricated or exaggerated. If you listen to conversations in the expat community, a common myth is that if you hire a national, he or she will take your job.

When I hear this, I like to ask for examples of when this has happened in reality. Rather than having personally experienced it or even having detailed personal examples, the myth-bearer refers to a nebulous "friend" (whose name or exact details they cannot remember).

Another insulting myth is that nationals will not work hard. Just the other day, I listened to a leader who said he would hire any Emirati who would show up before 8am and work past 6pm. So I asked, "What time do you usually reach the office?" Without recognising the inconsistency he replied, "Around 9.15 each morning." This myth is unfounded as a generalisation of the local workforce and needs to be kept in check.

When welcoming national colleagues to your team, begin by believing in their ability and attitude. Your belief is fundamental in maintaining their conviction that they will succeed at your company. When a leader does not believe in his team, the followers quickly see through this and it impedes their performance. Uphold high expectations and lead to make them come true.

The next action for any leader is supporting the growth of his team. Emphasis should be given to nurturing the local workforce's achievement orientation, including capability, self-efficacy, behaviour and resilience. This action has a direct mutual benefit.

Be brave and assign challenging work to overcome a recurring historical breakdown.

There are stories of locals turning up to work and their managers refusing to give them any real work. When work is not challenging, employees lose interest. Why should we expect anything different in the local market? The UAE's history proves that when given challenging work and an environment to perform, Emiratis deliver. The final point is to spend time learning from your local colleagues. If you allow them, they will provide tips on how to work and lead that may be different from your native background. These sneak peeks should inform your self-improvement agenda.

In short, my advice when welcoming an Emirati colleague to your team is to lead them like you do every other team member whom you expect to succeed.

As Emiratisation is a national priority for 2013 and an important factor in developing the economy, I hope that every leader in the private sector, whether at local companies or multinationals, supports it.

Tommy Weir is an authority on fast-growth and emerging-market leadership, an adviser and the author of The CEO Shift. He is the founder of the Emerging Markets Leadership Center

Non-oil trade

Non-oil trade between the UAE and Japan grew by 34 per cent over the past two years, according to data from the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre. 

In 10 years, it has reached a total of Dh524.4 billion. 

Cars topped the list of the top five commodities re-exported to Japan in 2022, with a value of Dh1.3 billion. 

Jewellery and ornaments amounted to Dh150 million while precious metal scraps amounted to Dh105 million. 

Raw aluminium was ranked first among the top five commodities exported to Japan. 

Top of the list of commodities imported from Japan in 2022 was cars, with a value of Dh20.08 billion.

Quick facts
  • Storstockholms Lokaltrafik (SL) offers free guided tours of art in the metro and at the stations
  • The tours are free of charge; all you need is a valid SL ticket, for which a single journey (valid for 75 minutes) costs 39 Swedish krone ($3.75)
  • Travel cards for unlimited journeys are priced at 165 Swedish krone for 24 hours
  • Avoid rush hour – between 9.30 am and 4.30 pm – to explore the artwork at leisure
Three ways to limit your social media use

Clinical psychologist, Dr Saliha Afridi at The Lighthouse Arabia suggests three easy things you can do every day to cut back on the time you spend online.

1. Put the social media app in a folder on the second or third screen of your phone so it has to remain a conscious decision to open, rather than something your fingers gravitate towards without consideration.

2. Schedule a time to use social media instead of consistently throughout the day. I recommend setting aside certain times of the day or week when you upload pictures or share information. 

3. Take a mental snapshot rather than a photo on your phone. Instead of sharing it with your social world, try to absorb the moment, connect with your feeling, experience the moment with all five of your senses. You will have a memory of that moment more vividly and for far longer than if you take a picture of it.


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