Emiratisation is not just a number, says MoHRE minister as UAE increases target number of citizens in private sector

Dr Abdulrahman Al Awar emphasised the programme is about empowering efficient local talents who contribute to the country's overall economic growth


Angel Tesorero

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Media roundtable with Dr Abdulrahman Al Awar, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation. Photo: Angel Tesorero
Media roundtable with Dr Abdulrahman Al Awar, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation. Photo: Angel Tesorero

Published: Wed 12 Jul 2023, 10:01 PM

Last updated: Wed 12 Jul 2023, 11:07 PM

Emiratisation is not just a number but an integral part of enhancing the competitiveness of UAE nationals in the private sector. It also demonstrates the private sector's commitment to enhancing human resource development in the country.

This was Dr Abdulrahman Al Awar, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation's central message as he also underscored the success of the Emiratisation programme during a round-table dialogue with editors and senior journalists of various Arabic and English media outlets, including Khaleej Times, on Wednesday.

"Emiratisation is not just a number nor about compliance by the private sector but about empowering efficient employees who contribute to the UAE's overall economic growth," Dr Al Awar underscored.

The minister noted around 79,000 Emiratis are now working in the private sector, up almost three-fold from 29,810 in 2021, when the Nafis initiative was introduced. The current number also reflects the highest-ever rate of Emiratisation in the UAE private sector, marking a 57 per cent increase as compared to figures in 2022, when 50,228 UAE nationals were employed in the private sector. MoHRE also noted nearly 17,000 private sector companies are employing UAE citizens.

More than the statistics, Dr Al Awar has emphasised the programme's success story, which he attributed to the active participation of the private sector and programmes designed to provide qualified Emirati talents with the right tools and support.

Meeting the nationalisation programme

When Khaleej Times asked why MoHRE expanded the Emiratisation targets on Tuesday to include firms with 20 to 49 employees, when previously only private sector companies with 50 employees or more were required to meet the nationalisation programme, Dr. Al Awar explained the move was based on the calculated projections of human resources supply and demand.

Dr Al Awar also clarified it was not about lowering the minimum threshold or targeting tens of thousands of companies in the UAE, but only those establishments across 14 specific economic sectors required to hire at least one qualified Emirati in 2024 and another in 2025.

The move will affect around 12,000 companies engaged in information and communications, financial and insurance activities, real estate, professional and technical activities, education, healthcare, administrative and support services, construction, transportation and hospitality, among others.

Dr Al Awar explained the companies are given a grace period of one year to comply, and the identified sectors are the ones projected to generate growth with moderate levels of skilled employees and those that can provide salaries that are acceptable to hire Emiratis.

“The establishments are chosen based on the nature of jobs, work environment, geographical location, projected growth and Emiratisation priorities.

“The objective is to create a good job environment,” noted Dr Al Awar as he cited consultancy, lawyering, banking, finance, technology and digital economy as the key sectors suited for the Emiratisation expansion.

Breaking barriers

Another positive outcome of Emiratisation, Dr Al Awar underscored, is that it broke barriers by unifying the working systems for the Federal government and private sectors.

Since February 2022, employees in both public and private sectors have been getting the same types of leaves and have the option to opt for flexible, part-time and temporary work models. Employees across the country are also protected under anti-discrimination provisions that prohibit employers from recruiting on the basis of race, colour, gender, religion, nationality, social origin, or disability.

Dr Al Awar also cautioned against non-compliant institutions or those that are trying to go around the rules. He said: We have mechanisms that monitor discrimination in salaries. We also conduct field visits to make sure companies are held accountable.”

At the end of the media roundtable, Dr Al Awar asserted: "The UAE remains an incubator for all nationalities. We are creating a job environment that serves both nationals and expatriates as we ensure a moderate number of job opportunities for Emiratis."


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