“As a female Emirati, the decision to join an international bank wasn’t an easy one.” - We talk about the growth of Emiratisation hiring programs with Mira Saeed Lootah, a graduate of Finance and Economics from the American University of Sharjah, and currently Graduate Analyst at an International Bank.
For nearly a decade we have witnessed a nationwide effort to create a healthy and sustainable employment environment for UAE nationals. Employability of Emiratis in the government sector reached its peak over the past two years with the focus shifting to the private sector.
According to the Abu Dhabi government website, “The banking sector is the largest private sector employer of UAE nationals in the country.” Due to the nearing level of saturation of UAE nationals in the public sector, there is a need for Emiratisation in the private sector, particularly banking. Many banks across the UAE are setting up programmes to train and develop UAE nationals’ skills. This development in the recruitment of Emiratis is aligned with the UAE vision of 2021, which aims to increase Emiratisation not just in government, but also private sectors.
Faisal Galadari, CEO of Al Masraf, stated, “In addition to focused recruitment, the bank (Al Masraf) is proactively sharpening their talents and working at increasing retention figures.” Banks have been proactively moving towards that by arranging open day walk-in interview sessions, creating an appealing environment (increasing maternity leave, introducing flexible work hour schemes, and creating a more inclusive working environment) for Emiratis, launching programs such as ‘Dirasati’, ‘Absher’, and ‘Tawteen’.
Human Resources Authority (HRA)
The HRA was launched in 2005 with the aim of creating a sustainable employment environment for UAE nationals in all sectors, Private, Semi-Government, and Government. Ensuring Emirati candidates have the right tools to integrate into the workforce.
Therefore, HRA aims to attract more Emiratis into the private sector by changing the perceptions of the private sector employers towards Emirati employees, and vice versa. One of HRA’s initiatives in order to drive more nationals into the banking sector in Abu Dhabi, specifically, is the ‘Dirasati’ programme. ‘Dirasati’ is an academic programme that works on training and employing a number of UAE nationals into banks in Abu Dhabi. Four national Abu Dhabi banks have participated in this programme: Al Hilal Bank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, and Abu Dhabi National Bank. The percentage of Emirati nationals in some of these banks has reached 40%, which comes to show the success of the programme.
Mira Saeed Lootah stated, “As a female Emirati, the decision to join an international bank wasn’t an easy one knowing the huge cultural differences and the fact that international trips were sometimes required for the job. However, the Emiratisation team within HR fully understood all my concerns and was very open to helping in every aspect. They even offered to talk to my parents before my first international trip to clear any concerns my parents may have”. Emiratisation teams have been successfully supporting Emirati employees in breaking through into the private sector, and if Emiratisation continues to rise at its current pace, the banking sector will witness the highest percentage of Emirati workforce than ever before.
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