Federal strategy in this area focuses on the development of a comprehensive population policy to rectify the demographic imbalance and the continuance of Emiratisation through a well-planned course of action that incorporates both federal and local efforts. At present the majority of UAE citizens in the workforce are working in a public sector that has reached saturation point and is, therefore, incapable of absorbing the thousands (15,000 to 20,000) of nationals entering the job market each year.
At the same time, UAE nationals account for a very small percentage of the total workforce in the private sector, while private sector employment accounts for over 50 per cent of jobs in the UAE. The creation of job opportunities for national graduates in the private sector is, therefore, crucial.
Emiratisation, i.e. government intervention in the form of employment quotas for nationals in certain sectors, is considered to be essential, not only to provide much-needed employment for nationals, but in order to build the nation’s knowledge economy and to ensure that UAE nationals serve as the key drivers of economic growth and development.
Organisations such as the Abu Dhabi Council for Emiratisation and The Emirates National Development Programme are training nationals for the labour market in accordance with market demand, at the same time building partnerships with UAE private sector firms for recruitment and long-term retention of nationals. Many of the leading companies also have specialised training and internship programmes for UAE citizens.
Additional strategies included symposiums on employment issues and career fairs for recruitment purposes. The main objective of the Tawteen Symposium on skills and career development in the UAE and Arab World, for example, was to bring together representatives from government, business, education and the civil community from the UAE and the wider Arab World, to examine persisting social and cultural obstacles to meaningful careers and self-development for UAE and other Arab nationals.
In order to keep pace with rapid economic growth, the UAE will continue to require large numbers of expatriate workers, particularly as economic diversification drives expansion into labour-intensive sectors such as tourism, real estate and medium and heavy industries.