Arab Press

بالشعب و للشعب
Friday, Jan 27, 2023

UAE firms scramble to hire locals for jobs as deadline approaches

UAE firms scramble to hire locals for jobs as deadline approaches

Private sector firms will have to ensure that 2 percent of their staff are Emiratis by January 1 or face fines.

With foreign workers making up the bulk of private sector jobs in the United Arab Emirates, the Gulf’s second-largest economy wants to boost opportunities for its own citizens.

The UAE – like other oil and gas-rich Arab Gulf states – has often used the public sector as an employment vehicle for its nationals.

But times are changing, said 34-year-old Emirati researcher Khalifa al-Suwaidi, who has himself been looking for a private sector job since quitting a government post in June.

“We’ve reached a point where we have a diversity among Emiratis in terms of skill sets and expertise,” said al-Suwaidi.

“The public sector can no longer accommodate many of those talents.”

Just 12 percent of the country’s more than nine million residents are UAE nationals, with at least 90 percent of private sector jobs taken by foreigners, according to International Labour Organization figures.

Al-Suwaidi, author of a forthcoming book titled The UAE after the Arab Spring, said he believed some employers overlooked his application because they presumed an Emirati would demand the high wages often paid in lucrative government posts.

“The private sector needs to be more accommodating,” he said. “I’ve been applying for jobs for a while to no avail.”

‘Larger push’

The government is now strong-arming private firms into hiring local talent, with the aim of ensuring Emiratis make up 10 percent of the private sector workforce by 2026.

Next month, firms with more than 50 employees that fail to fill two percent of their skilled jobs with Emiratis face being fined.

That has sparked a hiring drive, with recruiters noting a “flood of vacancies” from companies – many of which will not be able to meet their targets.
“It’s going to be a tough run,”

said Hamza Zaouali, the founder of recruitment agency Iris Executives, but noting it was “not possible” for the UAE government to keep growing and hiring.

“The more sustainable way is to make sure the economy continuously absorbs, trains and works with Emiratis,” Zaouali said.

It is part of a wider trend, said Eman Alhussein, a non-resident fellow with the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington.

The UAE is joining “a larger push in the Gulf to change the dynamics of state-society relations” and wean citizens away from government jobs, she said.

“Gulf states want citizens to alter their expectations, give back to the state and accept jobs with longer hours and perhaps reduced income,” Alhussein said.

In November, the UAE’s minister of human resources and emiratisation, Abdulrahman al-Awar, said that more than 14,000 Emiratis had entered the job market in 2022, with an average of 100 finding jobs each day.

The government also announced a salary support scheme that provides Emiratis in the private sector with up to 7,000 dirhams ($1,900) extra if monthly wages are less than 30,000 dirhams.

There is no national minimum wage for Emiratis, but in Sharjah, one of the country’s seven emirates, they are entitled to a monthly minimum of AED 25,000.


The UAE, a top regional hub for multinational companies, ranked among the 10 richest countries in the world in 2020, according to the United Nations.

In 2022, it boasted a per capita gross domestic product of more than $47,000, higher than Britain and France, according to the International Monetary Fund.

It has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the Middle East, but data on nationwide joblessness among Emiratis is not publicly available.

In the UAE’s financial hub Dubai, Emirati unemployment rose from 2.5 percent in 2012 to 4.2 percent in 2019, according to the Dubai Statistics Center.

Mira al-Hussein, an Emirati researcher at the University of Oxford, said “discontent” has been brewing, especially after laws capping foreign ownership of firms at 49 percent were scrapped last year.

“In the past, Emiratis who were not keen to join the private sector had the option to wait for a public sector job, start their own business, or become the 51 percent local partner in a business,” she said.

“The drying up of these multiple sources … has narrowed down the options available.”
Debate on the issue shot to attention this month after an advertisement inviting Emiratis to apply for a “sandwich maker

” job at the Subway restaurant chain sparked social media criticism, prompting a government probe into the “contentious” post.

“The lack of administrative, financial and technical jobs has led to ‘sandwich maker’… Oh, what an age!” read one popular Twitter post.


Related Articles

Arab Press
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Germany confirms it will provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
Saudi FM discusses Kingdom’s economy, oil, Iran and US ties in Davos
Israelis rally in three cities against Netanyahu legal reforms
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Saudi Arabia plans to use domestic uranium for nuclear fuel
Mohammed Bin Salman chosen most influential Arab leader of 2022
Dirty bomb fears as URANIUM is found in cargo at Heathrow
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
United Arab Emirates says it will teach Holocaust in schools
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
International medical experts speak out against COVID-19 restrictions on China
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Saudi Arabia’s female ambassadors: Who are the five women representing the Kingdom?
Almubarak named ‘The Best Central Bank Governor of the Year 2023 for the Middle East’
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Dubai announces $8.7 trillion economic plan to boost trade, investment and global hub status
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
FTX assets worth $3.5bn held by Bahamas securities regulator
A Republican congressman-elect is under investigation in New York after he admitted he lied about his education and work experience.
Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, has died at the age of 82.
Hong Kong to scrap almost all its Covid rules
EU calls screening of travellers from China unjustified
US imposes Covid testing for visitors from China
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Addresses Joint Session of Congress - FULL SPEECH
Where is Rishi? Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's excuses about the UK's economic challenges just don't make sense
Former FTX CEO Bankman-Fried finally arrested in Bahamas after U.S. files charges
Corruption works: House Financial Services Chair Waters doesn't plan to subpoena her donor, Sam Bankman-Fried, to testify at hearing on FTX collapse
Ronaldo's new contract...
Prince William's godmother resigns honorary royal role after exposing her/their racism
Tax fraud verdict again exposes illusion of Trump the master businessman