Number of Emiratis in private sector jumps to nearly 80,000

Companies that missed Friday's Emiratisation deadline now face fines of up to Dh500,000

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Nearly 80,000 Emiratis are now working in the private sector - a leap of 30,000 in the past six months - as the campaign to get local talent into private business progresses.

The latest figures were released on Sunday after the deadline passed for companies with 50 or more employees to meet the 3 per cent Emiratisation target or face up to Dh500,000 fines.

About 79,000 Emiratis now work in the private sector, the highest-ever figure.

The number marks a 57 per cent increase in sign-ups since the end of 2022, where 50,228 Emiratis were employed in the private sector, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation said on Sunday.

“The notable growth in the number of Emirati citizens employed in the private sector reflects the effectiveness of the Emiratisation policies that have been implemented on a semi-annual basis starting this year,” said Dr Abdulrahman Al Awar, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation.

“These efforts have accelerated progress meeting Emiratisation targets, and ensured continuous recruitment throughout the year, in line with the directives of the UAE leadership, and under the supervision of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Presidential Court, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Emirati Talent Competitiveness Council.”

Mr Al Awar said the aim is to “empower Emiratis to thrive in the private sector, enhance their competitiveness and enable them to actively participate in the economic and overall development” of the country.

Friday was the deadline for private sector companies to ensure that 3 per cent of their workforce comprises of Emiratis.

The Emiratisation measures apply to skilled positions. While companies in free zones are exempt, they are encouraged to participate.

The government announced in February that companies must increase the proportion of Emirati workers by 1 per cent every six months.

Employers have been asked to meet a 4 per cent target by the end of the year, though this moves to 6 per cent next year, 8 per cent in 2025 and 10 per cent by the end of 2026.

The number of Emiratis working in the private sector reached 66,000 in May, with more than 10,000 hired in the first three months of this year, as per government figures.

Updated: July 09, 2023, 12:43 PM