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Emiratisation policy, yet to gain momentum in UAE job market

Employers in the UAE are still seeking to fill in vacant positions with expatriates, despite strong Emiratisation efforts by the Federal Government, shows latest study.


According to an independent study involving 75 Finance Directors and Chief Financial Officers across the UAE, held in June this year, it was found that expatriate recruitment will be the central strategy of organizations for foreseeable future. The study comes in the "Year of Emiratisation", with the Federal government having increased efforts in improving employment opportunities for national population.


According to Christopher Greaves, Managing Director at recruitment consultancy, Hays, the overall majority of demand for national employees was coming from Abu Dhabi for government and semi-government positions.


The Director of Charterhouse Middle East, a recruitment consultancy, Gareth Clayton, said that the banking and government-linked organisations are most aggressive in this drive. However, the private sector still struggles to deliver the packages and training schemes put in place for Nationalisation.


Despite the government efforts to create employment opportunities for nationals, foreigners are still often flying to the UAE without a job offer, out of confidence that they will be offered a position within weeks of arrival. In fact, some expats put themselves at an advantage among other candidates if they were already in the country, although it was often dependent on skills and experience.


For mainstream jobs, employers still prefer applicants who are employed in the UAE already, or have market knowledge and cultural understanding. May other positions require a strong contact list, Greaves said.


Further, with the current uncertainty in the global market, despite signs of growing local economy, it is always cheaper to recruit locally from cost perspective, and it is important since ‘post-recession’, Clayton said.


The Senior Manager of UAE and Qatar at international HR Consultancy, James Maidlow, said that there has been a level of local and international recruitment as employers looked to balance market and cultural knowledge with experience and skills.


Posted on 20/9/2013

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