Thousands of Emiratis join private sector

The jobs boost comes as firms that failed to hit the local employment target are fined Dh400m

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Tens of thousands of Emiratis have been successfully placed in new private sector jobs, the UAE government said on Wednesday, as it detailed heavy fines for firms that failed to hit a key target.

Private companies have employed 28,700 Emiratis since the launch of the Nafis employment programme just over a ago.

There are now about 50,000 Emiratis nationwide working in the private sector, a statement said.

About Dh400 million in fines were issued to companies that failed to hit a January 1 deadline.

Officials said 8,897 companies had met the deadline, but did not state how many missed it.

More than 17,000 job vacancies were posted on the Nafis portal, where Emiratis are encouraged to look for opportunities.

Companies with more than 50 employees were required to ensure that 2 per cent of their workforce was Emirati by that deadline. Firms in free zones were exempt.

The Emirati Talent Competitiveness Council, chaired by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidential Court, said it recorded 227 instances where fake jobs were offered to hit the deadline.

Emiratis taking private sector jobs are entitled to salary top-ups under the Nafis - which means 'compete' or to be competitive - programme because they would typically earn more in the public sector.

Employers must now hit a target of 4 per cent by January 1, 2024, rising to 10 per cent by the end of 2026.

Officials discussed the first phase of a social media campaign that puts the spotlight on 101 Emiratis in the sector, and how they are thriving.

The Nafis... Your Way campaign seeks to change perceptions about the private sector, the work environment and opportunities that it offers.

Emirati leadership scheme set up

The UAE on Thursday announced the launch of a new Emirati leadership programme to further bolster local participation in the private sector.

Sheikh Mansour, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation and Mohammed Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs, were on hand as the plans were set out at Abu Dhabi's Qasr Al Watan.

The initiative aims to pave the way for a new generation of leaders in the private sector, state news agency Wam reported.

The leadership scheme is in line with the wider goals of the country's Emiratisation drive.

It will aim to expand training and boost qualifications of Emirati employers to create pathways for further career development.

Updated: January 12, 2023, 9:08 AM