Maha Al Kaabi, a business student at Al Ain Women's College, help to gather information about locals and the private sector.
Maha Al Kaabi, a business student at Al Ain Women's College, help to gather information about locals and the private sector.

Are local job-seekers too tense?



ABU DHABI // Some young Emiratis think they would have no job security or benefits if they worked in the private sector, a belief that may be hampering the struggling Emiratisation process, according to researchers at UAE University in Al Ain. The researchers questioned 60 people aged 18 to 23 years - 20 students, 20 employed graduates and 20 unemployed graduates - to learn more about their job-seeking attitudes amid Government efforts to place and keep Emiratis in private-sector jobs, such as the recent ban on firing Emirati staff except in cases of serious misconduct.

Most of the Emiratis who were questioned had little confidence in their ability to thrive in private companies and were "overwhelmed" at having to compete for jobs against applicants from all over the world, the researchers said. The respondents ranked employee rights, job security, working hours and advancement opportunities as more important than salary level, although their salary expectations were also higher than market rates. They said the worst aspect of private-sector employment was the low wages. About a quarter of the interviewees said they would rather wait for an uncertain job in the public sector rather than take a private-sector job immediately.

The researchers attributed such anxiety to Emiratis' minimal exposure to the private sector in their education and private lives. Just 13,000 Emiratis hold jobs with private companies, constituting about 0.4 per cent of the private-sector workforce and about 1.3 per cent of the Emirati population. "The whole system needs to be changed in terms of exposure to the private sector and instilling confidence," said Dr Ingo Forstenlechner, assistant professor at the College of Business and Economics at UAE University. He is the principal investigator under an Emirates Foundation grant to look into the issues surrounding Emiratisation.

"Emiratis need more exposure to the reality, then they will feel more competitive," he said. "There are many Emiratis who don't even have a friend or relative working in private employment so their perceptions of it are founded on rumours, horror stories. It is prejudice based on lack of knowledge." Abdullah al Darmaki, the executive director of the Abu Dhabi Emiratisation Council, said more encouragement from the Government would change negative Emirati attitudes towards private-sector employment. Mr al Darmaki, is a former executive at Bawadi, the Dubai leisure development, and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company.

He cited a recent deal between the Mubadala Development Company, a government investment firm, and the US microchip company AMD to manufacture chips in the UAE, as a prime example of a private-sector employment opportunity that needed to be promoted among young Emiratis. "We need to do the right campaigning," he said. "When I took over this body there was no marketing or communication department. We need to speak to Emiratis and educate them about the private sector. Now we are beginning to promote industries, do road shows and design programmes."

Many Emiratis will never get jobs in the public sector because it is already fully staffed, the researchers said. Dr Forstenlechner said that the old arrangement of Emiratis' working in the civil service and foreigners filling the private sector was perfect until now. "But now Emiratis have to go into the private sector because the public sector is already saturated," he said. "This is the one thing that may make or break the future of this country. Half the population is below the age of 15. If they do not find meaningful work, how can social and economic stability be maintained?"

The researchers suggested that Emiratis gain work experience with private companies while they are still students, as well as government subsidies to raise private-sector salaries. Dr Mohammed al Waqfi, part of the research team, said: "There is a disconnect in pay between the public and private sectors, and it is harming Emiratisation. Public-sector wages are not only driven by productivity because an element of the pay is basically intended to improve standards of living for Emiratis."

Big monopolies and companies that bid for contracts awarded by the Government can and should be held to quota targets for the number of Emirati staff they hire, Dr Al Waqfi said, although he conceded that smaller companies may not be able to afford the increased costs that come with hiring Emirati staff and that government help might be needed. But Mr Al Darmaki said such help was available. "An Emirati in the private sector is entitled to get a pension, for example, and if a private-sector company comes to me and says we can't afford to pay the pension contributions for an Emirati employee, then we can financially support this," he said.

tspender@thenational.ae

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

Emergency phone numbers in the UAE

Estijaba – 8001717 –  number to call to request coronavirus testing

Ministry of Health and Prevention – 80011111

Dubai Health Authority – 800342 – The number to book a free video or voice consultation with a doctor or connect to a local health centre

Emirates airline – 600555555

Etihad Airways – 600555666

Ambulance – 998

Knowledge and Human Development Authority – 8005432 ext. 4 for Covid-19 queries

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

Essentials

The flights
Emirates flies direct from Dubai to Seattle from Dh6,755 return in economy and Dh24,775 in business class.
The cruise
UnCruise Adventures offers a variety of small-ship cruises in Alaska and around the world. A 14-day Alaska’s Inside Passage and San Juans Cruise from Seattle to Juneau or reverse costs from $4,695 (Dh17,246), including accommodation, food and most activities. Trips in 2019 start in April and run until September. 
 

SOUTH KOREA SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Kim Seung-gyu, Jo Hyeon-woo, Song Bum-keun
Defenders: Kim Young-gwon, Kim Min-jae, Jung Seung-hyun, Kim Ju-sung, Kim Ji-soo, Seol Young-woo, Kim Tae-hwan, Lee Ki-je, Kim Jin-su
Midfielders: Park Yong-woo, Hwang In-beom, Hong Hyun-seok, Lee Soon-min, Lee Jae-sung, Lee Kang-in, Son Heung-min (captain), Jeong Woo-yeong, Moon Seon-min, Park Jin-seob, Yang Hyun-jun
Strikers: Hwang Hee-chan, Cho Gue-sung, Oh Hyeon-gyu

The BIO

Favourite piece of music: Verdi’s Requiem. It’s awe-inspiring.

Biggest inspiration: My father, as I grew up in a house where music was constantly played on a wind-up gramophone. I had amazing music teachers in primary and secondary school who inspired me to take my music further. They encouraged me to take up music as a profession and I follow in their footsteps, encouraging others to do the same.

Favourite book: Ian McEwan’s Atonement – the ending alone knocked me for six.

Favourite holiday destination: Italy - music and opera is so much part of the life there. I love it.

Pearls on a Branch: Oral Tales
​​​​​​​Najlaa Khoury, Archipelago Books

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

NBA Finals so far

(Toronto lead 3-1 in best-of-seven series_

Game 1 Raptors 118 Warriors 109

Game 2 Raptors 104 Warriors 109

Game 3 Warriors 109 Raptors 123

Game 4 Warriors 92 Raptors 105

IPL 2018 FINAL

Sunrisers Hyderabad 178-6 (20 ovs)
Chennai Super Kings 181-2 (18.3 ovs)

Chennai win by eight wickets

The Afghan connection

The influx of talented young Afghan players to UAE cricket could have a big impact on the fortunes of both countries. Here are three Emirates-based players to watch out for.

Hassan Khan Eisakhil
Mohammed Nabi is still proving his worth at the top level but there is another reason he is raging against the idea of retirement. If the allrounder hangs on a little bit longer, he might be able to play in the same team as his son, Hassan Khan. The family live in Ajman and train in Sharjah.

Masood Gurbaz
The opening batter, who trains at Sharjah Cricket Academy, is another player who is a part of a famous family. His brother, Rahmanullah, was an IPL winner with Kolkata Knight Riders, and opens the batting with distinction for Afghanistan.

Omid Rahman
The fast bowler became a pioneer earlier this year when he became the first Afghan to represent the UAE. He showed great promise in doing so, too, playing a key role in the senior team’s qualification for the Asia Cup in Muscat recently.

Russia's Muslim Heartlands

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THE DETAILS

Deadpool 2

Dir: David Leitch

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Justin Dennison, Zazie Beetz

Four stars

Defending champions

World Series: South Africa
Women’s World Series: Australia
Gulf Men’s League: Dubai Exiles
Gulf Men’s Social: Mediclinic Barrelhouse Warriors
Gulf Vets: Jebel Ali Dragons Veterans
Gulf Women: Dubai Sports City Eagles
Gulf Under 19: British School Al Khubairat
Gulf Under 19 Girls: Dubai Exiles
UAE National Schools: Al Safa School
International Invitational: Speranza 22
International Vets: Joining Jack

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

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Price: From Dh1.14 million ($311,000)
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Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

Hili 2: Unesco World Heritage site

The site is part of the Hili archaeological park in Al Ain. Excavations there have proved the existence of the earliest known agricultural communities in modern-day UAE. Some date to the Bronze Age but Hili 2 is an Iron Age site. The Iron Age witnessed the development of the falaj, a network of channels that funnelled water from natural springs in the area. Wells allowed settlements to be established, but falaj meant they could grow and thrive. Unesco, the UN's cultural body, awarded Al Ain's sites - including Hili 2 - world heritage status in 2011. Now the most recent dig at the site has revealed even more about the skilled people that lived and worked there.

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home. 

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

Diriyah project at a glance

- Diriyah’s 1.9km King Salman Boulevard, a Parisian Champs-Elysees-inspired avenue, is scheduled for completion in 2028
- The Royal Diriyah Opera House is expected to be completed in four years
- Diriyah’s first of 42 hotels, the Bab Samhan hotel, will open in the first quarter of 2024
- On completion in 2030, the Diriyah project is forecast to accommodate more than 100,000 people
- The $63.2 billion Diriyah project will contribute $7.2 billion to the kingdom’s GDP
- It will create more than 178,000 jobs and aims to attract more than 50 million visits a year
- About 2,000 people work for the Diriyah Company, with more than 86 per cent being Saudi citizens

Libya's Gold

UN Panel of Experts found regime secretly sold a fifth of the country's gold reserves.

The panel’s 2017 report followed a trail to West Africa where large sums of cash and gold were hidden by Abdullah Al Senussi, Qaddafi’s former intelligence chief, in 2011.

Cases filled with cash that was said to amount to $560m in 100 dollar notes, that was kept by a group of Libyans in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

A second stash was said to have been held in Accra, Ghana, inside boxes at the local offices of an international human rights organisation based in France.

THE SPECS

2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid LE

Engine: 1.8 litre combined with 16-volt electric motors

Transmission: Automatic with manual shifting mode

Power: 121hp

Torque: 142Nm

Price: Dh95,900

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures


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