Written by
Changeboard Team

Published
22 May 2014

Shining brighter: Dr Ayoub Kazim, managing director at Dubai Knowledge Village

22 May 2014 • by Changeboard Team

HR decision makers

The way HR is perceived by internal and external audiences has shifted fundamentally. Once seen as a peripheral support function, it is now ingrained into the core strategy of a business. For the first time, HR executives are commanding a decision making space in the boardroom and have the power to enhance the productivity and performance of an organization.

The GCC, which is on the road to economic recovery, is waking up to the crucial role that HR can play. Businesses are investing in HR, seeing that it can return dividends if deployed wisely.

The challenges of Emiratisation

In the UAE, and particularly in Dubai, the HR market has progressed from supporting a predominantly corporate and financial industry fuelled by expats. Now it is part of a diversified economy where locals are empowered to play a much greater role in the development of their countries’ economies. GCC governments’ efforts to upskill the local workforce have played a significant part in this, as has Dubai’s growing education industry which has put the UAE on the map for higher education and training and development. In Dubai, the Emiratization programme has been in place for more than 10 years and, while results are already evident within the public sector, there is some way to go within the private sector.

The results of a recent study by Gulf Talent suggest that 86% of Emirati male graduates and 66% of females would prefer to work in the public sector. Multinational corporations are the second choice, while UAE private sector companies are the least popular.

Graduate programmes

As an HR professional, you must consider how best to communicate the advantages of working in the private sector – such as job satisfaction and career development opportunities. The key is to create a proposition that taps into the Emirati psyche. To help with this, the government launched the Absher Initiative last year. It aims to support the creation of more than 20,000 job opportunities in the private sector in the next five years.

More recently, private sector firms have been recruiting Emiratis through graduate training programmes. One example is Dunia Finance whose ‘Young Business Leaders Programme’ gave the company access to a pool of students, and there are many more now following in its footsteps.

The HR sector must make Emiratization a central part of its workforce strategy, and recognize the benefits of employing ambitious, engaged Emiratis. This should not be an exercise in quotas alone.

More recently, private sector firms have been recruiting Emiratis through graduate training programmes. One example is Dunia Finance whose ‘Young Business Leaders Programme’ gave the company access to a pool of students, and there are many more now following in its footsteps.

The HR sector must make Emiratization a central part of its workforce strategy, and recognize the benefits of employing ambitious, engaged Emiratis. This should not be an exercise in quotas alone.

Over the next few years, we will continue to see a boom in demand for quality HR management resources within the region, particularly in relation to nationalization programmes. Local governments will be looking to these institutions, many of which sit within Dubai Knowledge Village, to support them in the challenge of getting Emiratis into the workplace.