‘I never expected to be in customer care, but I am loving it’: Emiratis talk about getting their first job

Healthcare firms say that they are focused on hiring females in a bid to empower Emirati women by integrating them into the country’s seminal workforce


Nandini Sircar

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Photo for illustrative purposes only
Photo for illustrative purposes only

Published: Thu 12 Jan 2023, 10:41 AM

Last updated: Thu 12 Jan 2023, 5:48 PM

Several top healthcare companies in the UAE are hiring fresh Emirati graduates as they race to achieve their Emiratisation target under the Nafis programme.

By now, all private sector companies in the UAE with 50 employees or more are required to have employed Emiratis in two per cent of their skilled roles.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) announced recently that it has imposed fines on companies that have not met their targets for 2022.

The ministry imposed “financial contributions” of Dh72,000 on companies for each Emirati not appointed during 2022.

Khaleej Times spoke to a few fresh Emirati graduates who have joined some of the main players in the country’s healthcare sector.

Maitha Al Ansari, whose major was in Applied Media at the Higher College of Technology, recalls the experience of her first job so far. “I have been working as a customer service executive at Medcare Medical Centre, Mirdif, since November 2022. I am really enjoying my time here. I have been seeing people every day and handling things for them (patients). It’s very interesting because I do something new every day and I help customers every day.”

Maitha, who initially did not expect to do customer care, says she surprisingly loves it. "I think that’s because I am an outgoing person and I like seeing people, so all this is very interesting to me," she explains. "There are challenges, as you have to deal with so many kinds of people. Some patients are nervous, and some are angry. You have to deal with everyone. But it’s a great learning experience as it gives me the knowledge and experience to deal with people.”

When asked if she was nervous on the first day of her first job, she opines, “I didn’t know what I was supposed to do and I was afraid of making mistakes. But people around me have been very helpful and have been guiding me to do the right things. We will also receive formal training from the hospital by the end of this month.”

Establishments must now work to raise their Emiratisation rate by four per cent by the end of 2023. UAE nationals hail the initiative saying this has put locals on a solid career trajectory.

“It’s a great programme as so many unemployed people are getting employed under the Emiratisation initiative. Second, it’s on the national agenda and the government is looking to build a competitive economy where everyone in the country can unlock their potential and have a good quality of life. I see so many of my friends are now getting employed under the Emiratisation programme, ” adds Maith.

Hind Almarri, who graduated with a major in pharmacy, will be joining Medcare Women & Children's Hospital on January 16. The 22-year-old says, “I will be joining their pharmacy department. I am both nervous and excited about it. I want to get more experience in this field. I’ll have to handle a lot of different patients there, so I do anticipate a few challenges while I am on the job."

"This programme will help Emiratis to work in different fields that we didn’t expect to work in. This will also help to build the economy of our country.”

Maryam Al Hashmi, who has recently joined the customer service department at Burjeel Medical City, Abu Dhabi, has taken a break from her university education to get some hands-on professional experience before she returns to complete her degree again.

“I am very excited because it is my first job. I have taken a break from my university education and wish to return to it after a few years. My colleagues here have been very helpful. I am the first Emirati in the department. My job is to manage bookings of customers and registration of new patients and following them up for new appointments. I try to be friendly with the patients during my interaction and I love this job,” says Maryam.

Athari Al Hosani, another new employee at Burjeel Medical City Abu Dhabi, who studied environmental health and safety in college, avers a job can be very different from what one has learnt in college.

She says, “I knew what I had to do and what I am responsible for but certainly handling patients is not always easy. The challenge sometimes is billing, especially when the customer doesn’t have any insurance. So, I have handled different types of customers already, some of whom may even appear to be irritated. Now, I have learnt to patiently deal with them.”

“I had volunteered in Abu Dhabi Health Services Company – SEHA earlier, I did registration for people who wanted to take the Covid-19 test or vaccine. So, I have some prior experience. The vision for the nation through the Nafis programme has indeed led us to newer paths and I am proud to be serving my country.”

Companies focused on recruiting and developing women

Meanwhile, healthcare conglomerates in the country say that they welcome the UAE government’s vision for achieving the set goals of Emiratisation in the private sector and implementing the leadership's directives.

Their focus is geared more towards hiring females in a bid to empower Emirati women by integrating them in the country’s seminal workforce.

Alisha Moopen, Deputy Managing Director, Aster DM Healthcare says, “We will continue focusing on Emiratisation to secure the strong talent we need for our future and to create opportunities for young UAE nationals in the nation’s healthcare sector. We are particularly focused on recruiting and developing women, with a bifurcation of 87 per cent women and 13 per cent men, as diverse organisations perform better. We have also curated a skill development programme for our Emirati coworkers to empower and enable them to be the best at what they do and to ensure they feel supported and engaged at every stage of their employment cycle.”

Omran Alkhoori, Member, Board of Director, President, Business Development, Burjeel Holdings says, “Our country’s Nafis program encourages UAE nationals to enter the private sector while benefiting from the highest possible level of government empowerment and support. Aligned with the Nafis program, we proactively facilitate employment opportunities for UAE nationals and upskill the local talent pool to meet the sector's requirements.

“We have enhanced the local hiring processes at entry and senior management levels and created Emirati training programmes. In 2022, we ensured the recruitment of 155 Emirati candidates, both fresh graduates and seasoned professionals, under the Nafis program. The new graduates have been hired from universities like Higher College of Technology, Abu Dhabi University, and Zayed University and work in diverse roles as administrative and allied health professionals. We are also actively recruiting UAE nationals for senior management roles to bring a greater depth of experience and perspective.”


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