Most Emiratis stay at firms for at least three years, study says
ABU DHABI // Two thirds of working Emiratis stay with their employers for at least three years and 25 per cent of them do so for five years or more, a new study shows.
The full research findings on emiratisation by the Abu Dhabi University Knowledge Group will be released at the sixth annual Emiratisation Forum, which begins on Monday.
The study tore apart common misconceptions about Emirati employees, including one about Emiratis being job hoppers, said Rabei Wazzeh, a director of the forum and executive director of Talent Management Consultancy.
“It’s actually a wide range of issues,” he said. “We’re still facing challenges, although there’s a shift in the challenges.”
The idea that Emiratis are only attracted to high-paying jobs is another common myth that the research has revealed to be false. “It’s definitely not about salaries,” said Mr Wazzeh. “From my own experience, salaries are not a major issue. People, especially Emiratis, are looking for success and social recognition. That’s one key area that’s very important.”
Companies that offered employees opportunities for career development and professional growth were much more attractive to prospective Emirati workers, he said.
James Ryan, an associate professor of human resource management at UAE University, praised forum organisers for offering strategies to improve Emiratisation.
“Anything that raises awareness of the issue, anything that provides a forum for people to discuss potential challenges that they’re facing is a good thing,” he said.
“Private-sector organisations do need to really embrace the issue of Emiratisation. And for a UAE national to expect an employment opportunity in his own country where he is under-represented, that’s not at all an unreasonable expectation.
“Preferences should be given to Emiratis where they have the qualifications and experience to do the job. I don’t think that the private sector organisations have really committed to that.”
But Prof Ryan conceded that real challenges remain in boosting the number of Emirati employees in the private sector.
“For the most part, the Government is the preferred employer for Emiratis,” said Prof Ryan, adding that Emiratis comprise less than 2 per cent of the private sector workforce.
Jobs in the government service offered much better compensation and benefits to Emiratis than they would otherwise get for comparable jobs in the private sector, he said.
“If you have very few Emiratis working in the private sector, it means that a UAE national in a private-sector environment may be the only UAE national there,” said Prof Ryan.
“That could be a somewhat culturally uncomfortable experience in comparison with their peers who are working for one of the ministries or the municipality and are surrounded by their own countrymen.”
Mr Wazzeh said it was up to corporate leaders to ensure that the work environment was inclusive for everyone.
“You can easily integrate people into the culture if you create the right environment for people to work in,” he said.
The Emiratisation Forum, featuring presentations and panel discussions, will be held on Monday and on Tuesday.
Updated: November 8, 2014 04:00 AM