October 2nd, 2023

The Emiratisation Drive: Addressing the UAE Nationals’ Job Challenges in Private Sector Integration

UAE nationals’ job challenges, especially at the senior management level, are unlike any other. Being a UAE national seeking senior positions in the competitive job landscape, despite having the requisite expertise, fluent English communication, and market-aligned expectations, is no easy task. The difficulties range from under-recognition by potential employers to a growing preference for fresh graduates over seasoned professionals. But why is this the case?

Unnoticed Potential in Senior Management Professionals

One key challenge is the seeming inability of employers to fully value the qualifications of senior management UAE nationals. Instead, they often lean towards hiring fresh graduates, perceived to be more adaptable. Such a trend in hiring decisions puts seasoned professionals at a disadvantage, even more so when there is a limited number of senior management roles available.

Further complicating the matter, many companies, when looking to fill these roles, opt to recruit professionals from overseas, bypassing the local talent pool. It’s not uncommon for UAE nationals to submit their CVs and get “ghosted” by LinkedIn headhunters, leaving them in the dark regarding the status of their applications.

A Market Awaiting Realisation

While the UAE nationals’ job challenges remain significant, it’s crucial to note the value senior management professionals bring to the table. Their experience is tailor-made to contribute profoundly to the UAE’s rapidly changing job market. Yet, for them to truly shine, it’s essential to adapt to current market trends and leverage their vast professional networks effectively.

The Role of the Private Sector and Emiratisation

To bolster the country’s growth trajectory and support Emiratisation, it’s high time for the private sector to reconsider its stance on hiring senior-level UAE nationals. The potential benefits are twofold: companies can ensure their growth, and simultaneously, they can align with the national goals.

However, the ever-increasing number of UAE nationals entering the job market puts additional pressure on both the government and the private sector. Fresh graduates are the future, and the market must evolve to embrace the idea of hiring and training these budding professionals.

private sector jobs for uae nationals

Aligning Expectations with Opportunities

Over time, there has been a pattern amongst UAE nationals regarding their struggles in finding jobs. It’s not only about the scarcity of opportunities. Other factors like salary expectations, preparedness for the job market, and hesitancy towards joining the private sector play significant roles.

Recognising these UAE nationals’ job challenges, the government has set targets to incorporate more UAE nationals into the private sector workforce. Special attention is given to the banking and insurance sectors, aiming for holistic integration at various levels.

Preparing for a Bright Future

With entities like the Emirates Institute of Finance (EIF) offering dedicated programs for training UAE nationals for banking careers, there’s a stark difference between this proactive approach and the private sector’s somewhat hesitant adoption of UAE national employment targets. However, with changing times and increasing regulations, the private sector must realise the importance of investing in the training and development of UAE nationals. Adapting is the only way forward.

To achieve this, both the government and the private sector must work hand-in-hand. While the government needs to ensure adequate job creation, UAE nationals must also step up, manage their expectations, and harness the opportunities presented.

As the landscape evolves, one thing is clear: the private sector needs to plan and act decisively. Merely waiting, hoping for a shift in regulations, is not an option. We need to be proactive, realising that the potential of UAE nationals can significantly impact the growth of companies and the nation.

In the face of these evolving challenges in the UAE job market, Mark Williams has taken a proactive stance to be part of the solution. Recognising the pivotal role that the private sector plays in shaping the employment landscape for UAE nationals, Mark Williams is spearheading initiatives aimed at educating companies on best practices to bridge these gaps. By providing tailored workshops, strategic consultancy, and fostering open dialogues, Mark Williams is empowering the private sector to adopt more inclusive hiring practices. Our efforts not only resonate with the national objectives of Emiratisation but also pave the way for a job market that acknowledges the unparalleled value that UAE nationals bring to the table.

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