A major government drive to ensure 10 per cent of private sector workers are Emirati in the next five years will be a boost for employers and jobseekers, recruiters say.
The ambitious strategy - part of the UAE's Projects of the 50 - aims to create 75,000 private sector roles for UAE citizens by 2026.
Experts believe the forward-thinking initiative, which will include incentives such as paid training programmes, subsidies for Emiratis working in the private sector and support for local entrepreneurs, will help companies secure outstanding local talent who may otherwise have remained in the public sector.
In terms of the sectors that could attract Emiratis, technology, engineering and healthcare are expected to be the most in demand.
For fresh graduates, they will likely move into roles specialising in human resources and administration, finance and investment, data entry and customer service.
Louise Vine, managing director at Inspire Selection recruitment agency in Dubai, said the job market has changed for everyone over the past 18 months.
“The large local semi-government organisations that have typically recruited a lot of Emirati graduates have, for the time being, reduced their hiring,” she said.
“This has opened the doors for the private sector to position themselves as a viable option for young Emiratis.
“We often come across exceptional Emiratis when head hunting, but we find that they get snapped up very quickly, so more Emirati talent willing to consider working in the private sector is very encouraging, especially targeting Emiratis into the healthcare system.”
She said her team often places new Emirati talent into sectors such as engineering, human resources, marketing, financial services and professional services.
Top priorities when looking for a job
Nevin Lewis, chief executive of Black and Grey Human Resources in the UAE, said with guaranteed training for Emiratis in the private sector, he expects more Emiratis to venture into career-based technical and vocational roles.
And because Emiratis are future-focused, their top priorities when picking the right job will be “learning and development initiatives, corporate culture and employer brand”.
Rohini Bhalla, a senior consultant at GGC HR consultancy in Dubai, said Emiratis usually look to join the finance sector but she expects this trend to broaden as benefits increase across different roles.
"Recently, we have seen that they are looking to go into the less traditional sectors including aviation. Aviation brings benefits like discounted tickets," she said.
"The healthcare and sciences fields have also registered more interest following the Covid-19 outbreak.
"For many Emiratis, money is not a motivator, they are looking to make a difference to the growth of the country and their careers."
Top 5 sectors that could attract Emiratis
Technology. Artificial intelligence, robotics, automation and advanced manufacturing, virtual reality, augmented reality, big data and data analysis.
Starting salary: Dh17,000 to Dh40,000 plus benefits - varies depending on the skills, calibre, function and certifications.
Energy (green power) and transport. Renewable energy, district cooling, nuclear power, mobility, automotive and aviation, but trends suggest most will venture into engineering and technical roles.
Starting Salary: Dh20,000 to Dh40,000 - varies depending on the skills, calibre, function and certifications.
Services. Banking, financial, insurance and investments services, tourism, academia, retail.
Starting Salary: Dh18,000 to Dh35,000 depending on level of seniority in starting role.
Healthcare, pharma and biotechnology. Clinician, pharmacists, biopharmaceutical expert, laboratory scientist, laboratory technician.
Starting salary: Dh25,000 to Dh45,000.
Fast-moving consumer goods in multinational corporations and agriculture. Buyer, merchandiser, sales assistant, logistics manager, among others.
Starting Salary: Dh18,000 to Dh35,000 - varies depending on the skills, calibre, function and certifications.
Source: Black and Grey Human Resources