Emiratis recognise importance of private sector jobs

Author: Criselda Diala-McBride | Date: 13 Oct 2015

Oxford Strategic Consulting report highlights UAE nationals’ views and attitudes toward employment

The public sector remains the preferred employer among more than half of Emiratis surveyed by Oxford Strategic Consulting, but three in four (74 per cent) of respondents echo the importance of the private sector in the UAE government’s efforts to increase national employment.
William Scott-Jackson, Scott Owens and Robert Mogielnicki, who authored the Emirati Employment Report 2015, said the results show that UAE citizens must be viewed as allies, rather than obstacles, in the development of the country’s private sector.
“While many may ultimately prefer to work in the public sector, the vast majority of citizens recognise the importance of the private sector for employment and are aligned with the government on this strategic country goal,” they wrote.
Fifty-four per cent of those surveyed say the public sector is their most preferred employer, followed by defence and security (35 per cent), banking and finance, oil and gas (both 20 per cent), and telecommunications (14 per cent).
Of the least attractive sectors, aerospace topped the list among 40 per cent of Emirati respondents, followed by manufacturing (35 per cent), agriculture (34 per cent), tourism and hospitality (23 per cent) and construction (21 per cent).
More than half regard high salaries (59 per cent) or generous fringe benefits such as medical insurance and interest-free loans (57 per cent) as means for organisations to attract the best Emirati talent.
But while money may be important, the survey results revealed that it is not everything for respondents. Around 38 per cent view flexible working hours as important in luring nationals to work in an organisation, while 21 per cent say international assignments are also attractive.
A significant number of respondents (54 per cent) were more likely to work in administrative roles, but the analysts at Oxford Strategic Consulting believe Emiratis can “certainly aim higher” and that “60 per cent of nationals need to be groomed as leaders”.
If a large number of citizens are employed in administrative positions, the authors suggested that management and HR roles must be adequately professionalised.
“Oxford recommends that Emirati nationals in administration be trained, qualified and accredited from top awarding bodies, like CMI [Chartered Management Institute] and CIPD [Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development],” they said.