Emiratization to lead organizations with more than 50 skilled employees to hire 10% Emirati workforce by 2026

In a first-of-its-kind initiative to help organizations identify challenges and opportunities in Emiratization, TASC Outsourcing; the region’s leading recruitment agency hosted a panel discussion with senior industry leaders from the private and public sectors. Aimed at increasing the representation of Emirati citizens in the country’s workforce; Emiratization as a national policy has been evolving each year and now requires private sector companies with 50 skilled employees and upwards to have 4% Emiratis in their workforce by the end of 2023.

To help the UAE government enable Emiratization, TASC Outsourcing conducted a thorough survey in January 2023, canvassing a strength of 500 respondents. It is officially the largest Emirati candidate survey to date. The preferred outsourcing, recruitment, and HR specialists for many organizations in the UAE, TASC’s efforts have been channelized towards supporting not just the individual Emiratization goals of corporates but also helping fulfill the government’s vision for Emiratization. Survey insights were launched in the form of a guidebook during the event. This was followed by a keynote and a panel with the government and industry experts. The TASC report reveals insights to enhance competitive knowledge to accelerate Emiratization and given that the Emiratization rate for high-skilled jobs will gradually increase to 10% by 2026, this report serves as a foundation to build up a skilled Emirati workforce for employment needs.

Along with TASC Outsourcing, the panel was headed by Mr. Mohammad Abdullatif (Director of Coordination & Partnerships, Ministry of HR & Emiratization), Ms. Gabriella Planojevic (Group Head of Talent Management, Al Futtaim), Mr. Ibrahim Al Sayegh (Group Head of Emiratization Strategy and Planning, Al Futtaim), Ms. Susana Correia (Head, MENA Staffing LinkedIn) and Mr. Talib Hashim (Emiratization Consultant and Headhunter TBH). Ms. Yasmeen Al-Marzooqi (Director Talent Acquisition, Etisalat by e&) graced the event as a keynote speaker and shared their influential success story of Emiratization across e& – they achieved 52% Emiratization across their organization in 2022!

Over 150 invitee delegates represented medium and large companies making this exclusive event have a direct impact on the future course of the Emiratization process. While TASC remains committed to enabling Emiratization for organizations across industries; their efforts to bring forth HR facts, realistic expectations, and industry statistics were appreciated by all.

Speaking on TASC’s efforts to enable Emiratization in the UAE, Mr. Mahesh Shahdadpuri (Founder and CEO, TASC Outsourcing) said; “Closing out 2022, 65% of businesses in the UAE celebrated their success in meeting their Emiratization targets. Companies are looking towards 2023 with renewed enthusiasm as over 25% have identified 11-50 job vacancies suited specifically for Emiratis spread throughout HR & Administrative roles, Sales and Marketing, Operations, and Customer Service roles. The UAE is one of the Middle East’s largest economies that continues to evolve. As we march towards ‘We the UAE 2031’, Emiratization will be one of the strong pillars supporting this vision and a key performance indicator of its success. This report will serve as a perfect guide to identify challenges and apply market insights to implement Emiratization in the right spirit and speed.”

In a dynamic landscape where competitive employment is seen juggling between the right candidate and job profiles, this report intends to help the private sector re-strategize to attract and retain local talent.

Sharing her thoughts during the keynote, Ms. Yasmeen Al-Marzooqi (Director Talent Acquisition, etisalat by e&) said after the event; “Emiratization has succeeded in bringing about a quantum leap in the business environment. The boost in the employment of Emiratis and the increase in the private sector’s share of the country’s GDP have amalgamated well to provide synergy. Furthermore, initiatives like the Nafis Program are a competitive edge that assures empowered Emirati human resources. That, the UAE will spend up to AED 24 billion (USD 6.53 billion) under Nafis to employ 75,000 Emiratis in the private sector between 2021 and 2026; reflects on the commitment and resource allocation to fuel Emiratization.”

The report also highlights some major initiatives undertaken by the government to promote Emirati employment like the Emirati Salary Support Scheme, a dedicated Recruitment Portal, Career Guide, Apprenticeship, Healthcare, and Pension schemes to name a few. While the report mentions IT, Data Engineering, administration, and call centres as top employment opportunities for Emiratis; internships will also be provided to gain valuable work experience and develop the skills to secure long-term employment.

Focusing on the candidates’ perspective on Emiratization, Mr. Abdulmuttalib (Talib) Hashim (Emiratization Consultant and Headhunter TBH) said; “There has been a growing trend towards work-life balance and job fulfillment among Emirati job seekers in the UAE. While 66% of Emirati respondents showed interest in finding a role that aligns with their sense of purpose, 18% plan to stay with their current employer, and another 8% aim to start their own business, displaying a desire for entrepreneurship – in line with the government’s initiative of the ‘Projects of the 50’. The numbers are encouraging since it serves the purpose well and also helps plan strategy and implementation for the future.”

Ms. Susan Correia (Head MENA Staffing – LinkedIn) added, “LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, helps professionals across the world create their digital professional identity and connect to opportunity. This includes our Emirati members, who can unlock opportunities on LinkedIn through completing and updating their profile pages and highlighting their skills, experience, and achievements.”

The report also highlights factors like job security, career development, work-life balance, employer brand, and hybrid work model as prime parameters aside from salary and yearly packages for job preferences amongst Emiratis. A reference salary guide has also been included in the report that serves as a benchmark for salary planning under Emiratization across industries.

Emiratization focus for 2023

The private sector has responded positively to the government’s Emiratization program. The trend to hire UAE Nationals shall continue its momentum due to the government’s active efforts through new laws, regulations, and initiatives. As much as 65.8% of employers surveyed in larger organizations and MNCs are planning to hire at least 10 Emiratis and 26% plan to hire 11 – 50 Emiratis in 2023. The report also indicates that employers in the region are open to hiring Emirati talent for a wide range of roles, creating a high level of diversity in the types of roles that are available to Emirati candidates. The private sector has also created special training programs to hire Emirati talent. Employers are now keen on collaborating with credible recruitment consultants who have unmatched experience in identifying the best available Emirati talent to meet Emiratization targets effectively. The report also highlighted challenges like unrealistic salary expectations, limited experience, shortage of skills, and lack of understanding of the private sector as hindrances in the path of the Emiratization process.

Despite challenges, TASC remains committed to being the leader in fulfilling Emiratization targets for companies across the UAE. They suggested that the private sector employers engage in providing a complete and transparent job description to Emirati candidates along with understanding the talent profile for better recruitment and retention. The report also emphasized networking engagement when hiring C-suite and senior-level Emirati candidates. Areas of skill shortage are to be dealt with a broader perspective to identify support and growth through training and upskilling program.

‘Making Emiratization A Success 2023’ was TASC’s contribution towards treating Emiratization as not just a mandate but a shared responsibility to empower local talent for the socio-economic growth of the UAE.