The UAE’s public sector employment market is almost saturated and the Emiratisation quota system in the private sector has failed to meet targets.

It was a decade ago that UAE Ministry of Labour introduced the Emiratisation quota system to overcome the shortage of Emirati nationals in the labour market, banks, insurance firms, and commercial companies. However, according to last year’s statistics from the National Bureau, the private sector ratio of Emirati nationals is still significantly – nearly 20,000 out of 4 million people.

A leading academic expert, Professor William Scott-Jackson of Oxford Strategic Consulting says:

‘Emiratisation quotas won’t help boost the number of Emiratis in the labour market. Work experience is the way forward if more Emiratis are to join the private sector. Therefore, employers should focus on giving Emiratis work experience’.

Although implementing the quota system in the private sector has helped to fulfill the government’s immediate targets, it ultimately failed in building what is ultimately a long-term solution – providing a dedicated and highly-skilled Emirati workforce that is valuable to the organisation. Therefore, what would be more effective is the involvement of the private sector education and youth training programmes at an early age to build the right skill set. This would help alleviate the very conditions that require Emiratisation.

A recent research by Oxford Strategic Consulting revealed that 76% of young Emirati high school students have not been involved in any type of work placement schemes, voluntary work, career events or part-time work. The current situation is pretty alarming! It is the principle responsibility of employers to help young Emiratis achieve their maximum potential and the jobs of their dreams, through advocacy and extensive training.

Emphasizing the importance of training reinforcement, Professor Scott-Jackson said:

‘Private employers in UAE must focus on giving young Emiratis work experience before they apply for jobs. Training before employment will help employers develop the right skills in young Emiratis so they are attractive candidates for employment when they are older, and help youngsters find jobs in key roles easily’.