ABU DHABI // The number of Emiratis working in the private sector will need to increase tenfold over the next 5 years, members of the Federal National Council say.
Naama Al Sharhan said private sector firms – in particular those that are foreign-owned – need to be encouraged to hire more UAE nationals.
The FNC debate came after recruiters were deployed in every emirate to find jobs for an estimated 9,200 unemployed Emiratis, 80 per cent of them women.
Ms Al Sharhan, who represents Ras Al Khaimah, asked Saqr Ghobash, the Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, to look at what more could be done to place them in work.
Another FNC member, Ali Jassem from Umm Al Quwain, said on Tuesday after the meeting that there was a risk of some firms taking advantage of the UAE’s business environment without employing many of its citizens. “The private sector is utilising world-class services in this country for free but they are not sharing it,” he said.
“They should come forward to recruit locals on good salaries.”
Mr Jassem said that some firms in the private sector do offer Emiratis well-paid jobs, but that more could be done.
He said that in Founding Father Sheikh Zayed’s time, the President asked private firms to help UAE residents pay for weddings and to build houses.
“I was there when Sheikh Zayed said this. But he would ensure hospitals offered almost free services to foreigners in return. So private firms should come forward,” he said.
“It can’t be that you can enjoy the wide facilities on offer and run away.”
Last month, teams of recruiters were set up in the seven emirates with the aim of finding work for 9,200 Emiratis, many of whom live in the Northern Emirates.
The plan is to speed up the recruitment process and place at least 1,000 in the banking sector. The teams will also give guidance on skills and qualifications.
In session, Mr Ghobash said that the ministry set out a national policy to help recruit locals in private sectors.
He also said the Government would be ensuring that Emiratis are pursuing skills and an education that matches the jobs on offer.
“We have to encourage authorities in each emirate, where the percentage of women seeking jobs in 80 per cent,” Mr Ghobash said.
The minister also stressed that “we need to focus on education that serves as per the market demand”.
Ms Al Sharhan, who first raised the issue, said at present too few women are recruited into the private sector.
Mr Ghobash said of private firms: “Yes, they benefit from the country’s resources. As in the ministry we focus on job seekers and accordingly we process them.
“In the first place we look to partners and big private companies and look for capacity there as per the ministry rules”.
Mr Ghobash said there would be action at federal and emirate levels.
The FNC also discussed how the Ministry of Justice aims to ensure that more sitting judges are Emiratis.
At present, 55 per cent are UAE nationals. The aim is to ensure that this is 70 per cent by 2019.
The Minister of Justice, Sultan Saeed Al Badi, said that there were moves to ensure 100 per cent of staff in public prosecution departments are Emirati.