Emiratisation: Navigating Challenges and Seizing Opportunities

April 17, 2024 thehrobserver-hrobserver-emiratisation

When a People Manager walks into his office every day, numerous HR challenges ranging from talent acquisition battles to the pursuit of an ideal workplace culture, to how to partner HR with the business etc keep flashing in his/her mind and most of them are resolved before even reaching the desk.

One challenge still occupies a major part of his mind throughout the day, which is Emiratisation in the UAE,

This one stands out in its complexity and significance:

For those unfamiliar, Emiratisation represents a bold initiative aimed at integrating more Emirati nationals into the private sector workforce. While the target of achieving a 10% Emirati presence within companies may seem modest on paper, its implementation poses substantial challenges and promising opportunities, similar to navigating the shifting sands of a desert landscape.

To those who still think that this is a newly introduced legislation, let me correct them, it’s NOT! This was always there but most of the organisations in UAE chose not to take it seriously until recently.

As an observer and facilitator of this endeavor, one cannot help but marvel at the magnitude and resilience of the “Emiratisation camel.” Embracing this initiative entails embarking on a transformative journey that reshapes the very fabric of corporate culture.

The challenges inherent in Emiratisation are vast and multifaceted. Finding, nurturing, and retaining Emirati talent mirrors the search for an oasis in a barren desert. Additionally, there exists a perceptual barrier, as Emiratis traditionally gravitate towards the stability and prestige of public sector roles, viewing the private sector with apprehension. Moreover, salary expectations and a perceived lack of development opportunities present further obstacles. However, amidst these challenges lie opportunities for those willing to embrace the initiative.

Leading the charge in this transformation is NAFIS, providing guidance and support to companies navigating the evolving employment landscape. Research conducted by the UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation underscores the benefits of embracing Emiratisation, including heightened productivity, improved retention rates, and enhanced innovation stemming from diverse perspectives.

To successfully embrace Emiratisation, organisations must create an environment conducive to the growth and development of Emirati talent. In a still largely expat-driven workforce in UAE, this could be the biggest challenge. Businesses need to keep a simple thing in mind. If they were doing business in any other part of the world, there would be a lot of legislation to follow whether they like it or not. The cost of doing business here in this part of the world is just to include the local workforce in their success story. Not a lot to ask for?

From crafting inspiring workspaces that foster creativity and collaboration, implementing mentorship programs to guide emerging talent, and offering competitive compensation packages that reflect the value of Emirati employees to creating an environment where they feel wanted and valued can be a good start.

Furthermore, investing in tailored training and development initiatives is crucial to empowering Emirati talent and ensuring their long-term success within the corporate sphere. Embracing Emiratisation not only fulfills governmental mandates but also fosters a more inclusive workforce, driving innovation and community engagement.

In conclusion, Emiratisation represents a paradigm shift in workforce dynamics, emphasizing the importance of inclusivity and cultural diversity in corporate settings. By embracing this initiative wholeheartedly, organisations can navigate challenges and seize opportunities, ultimately contributing to a prosperous and vibrant labor market in the UAE.

Mohammad Tariq

HR Manager - UAE & Oman at The Kanoo Group

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