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A fresh approach to Emiratisation in the UAE

United Arab Emirates: Sunday, May 06 - 2007 @ 08:48

His Highness instead advocated a more cautious approach, noting: ‘It is very easy to impose Emiratisation. We can do this any time, but what would we gain if we did not provide our youth with the best knowledge, skill and expertise commensurate with these jobs?’

He was critical of the Minister of Labour who had previously issued decrees imposing Emiratisation on secretarial and public relation officer jobs, and also the Emiratisation of human resources within 18 months.

‘I appreciate the dedication and enthusiasm but his decisions were not successful because they ignored reality as well as the nation’s priorities,’ added His Highness.

Forced nationalization

Many employers in the UAE will warm to this new approach from the top, and it contrasts with the legislation imposing the employment of nationals in some Gulf States.

For such employment can be bad for efficiency in the workplace. Also it is probably true that if employees think they have a right to a job they are unlikely to be well motivated and will take a more relaxed attitude to work.

Far better is the approach of Sheikh Mohammed which is to maximize the education, training and entrepreneurial support available to nationals, so that they can compete on a level playing field with expatriate workers. This is not a quick fix solution, however, but with political will and support from the top it will work.

The whole point is that putting jobs into the hands of those less qualified to do them is not a good idea for the health of the economy. It takes an economy backwards and not forwards.

Job requirements

That more jobs for nationals are needed in the UAE is beyond doubt as the population of young nationals is increasing and they are being far better educated in the past.

But imposing under qualified national staff on employers is not the solution, and indeed this is an insult to the young nationals who do excel and meet the highest world standards. You meet many examples in Dubai among the younger leaders.

For nationals only need to demonstrate that they can work as effectively as any expatriate and then their natural advantage in their own land, culture and language is unbeatable. However, this will be a long and slow process and the UAE is wise to steer a course between too much and too little of a good thing.

Other Gulf States will find themselves at a comparative economic disadvantage to the UAE due to their current policies. But this is politically so sensitive that a change of direction might not be possible, and with its high percentage of expatriates to nationals the UAE is best favored to make a gradual change.

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Sunday, May 6- 2007 @ 8:48 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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