Kitchen owner willing to hire an Emirati, but accommodation is a problem

A restaurant owner said he would pay triple his normal salary for an Emirati employee.

ABU DHABI // The Emirati owner of a small business, Salah Al Tenaji, is happy to pay a few thousand dirhams extra to hire a compatriot, but doubts that anyone will accept his offer.

Mr Al Tenaji, 33, owns a small kitchen, Khameer and Chebab, that sells Emirati food and is run mostly by Asian staff.

“I barely cover my costs and make from Dh3,000 to Dh4,000 profit per month,” he says.

“For salaries, I pay from Dh2,000 to Dh1,500 per month. An Emirati would never accept this.”

However, he is willing to pay up to Dh7,000 for an Emirati employee.

The main obstacle, he said, was accommodation.

“The Asian staff live in joint housing that doesn’t cost me much and the Emiratis would not accept to live in these accommodations.”

Mr Al Tenaji said that, in general, an Arab employee would cost him Dh10,000 while Asians cost about Dh1,800, including housing.

He said he was willing to go the extra mile to have a qualified Emirati on board.

Like many, he said he believed that university degrees did not matter when it came to employment.

“It is who you know and your connections. If you are hired then it’s to meet a quota.”

Published: December 13, 2014 04:00 AM