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By Habtoor Information & Research Department


  The United Arab Emirates underwent a rapid transitional period in the past three and a half decades, where in a short span of time its simple economy and limited resources transformed into a modern society in the early1970ís. Since its creation in December, 1971 the UAE witnessed rapid economic, social and developmental changes which were mainly spurred on by the concurrence of the rise of the Federation with the sharp increase in oil prices in 1972 and the ensuing inflow of oil revenues.

  The country has advanced suddenly and rapidly from its modest beginnings a quarter century ago to high oil revenue and riches. The wisdom of His Highness, the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Suktan AL Nahayan, the President of the UAE, was the driving force behind the ideal utilization of these revenues and the achievement of advancement and prosperity. 

  A trained workforce was needed for the management and operation of all business sectors and for covering the inadequacy in the developing social services. The National work force was not yet ready to play an effective role in this vast development.

  The influx of oil revenues created a wide gap between the immense speed of modernization and the construction of an infrastructure and the skills, experience and qualification of National manpower. That is, the pace of the progress of comprehensive development in the UAE which was funded by the available resources was faster than that of the National work force. As a result, there was an extreme shortage in National manpower at all levels, from unskilled labour to key, specialized and technological positions.

  The lack of participation of National in the workforce was expected, not merely because of the influx of oil revenues, but also because of the small population of National and the shortage of the required skills for the management and execution of ambitious development projects.

  This situation lead to increasing reliance on the expatriate workforce which started to arrive in the country in large numbers attracted by the availability of financial resources and development projects. This dependence on expatriate manpower was meant to be temporary and short-term. However, after more than three decades, the country is still confronted  by the problem of an extreme shortage in the National workforce in terms of quantity and quality as opposed to the large number of Nationals employed in the civil service and the local government companies, coupled with an increase in the number of expatriatesí labor in the other private institutions.

  According to the Federal National Council report presented in June 2001, the U.A.E is exceptional in its low ratio proportion of citizens to expatriates. This was 24.5% in the 1995 census, reduced from 64% in the 1986 census. (Gulf newspaper, 20th June 2001.)More recent statistics suggest that the percentage was reduced even further to 18% in 1999. It may continue to decline in the coming years if circumstances remain as they are now.

  Comparing from the table below the human resource needs in 1995 (218,494) one can see that there will always be a need for newly trained Emiratis to reduce the gap of manpower requirement, as indicated by the forecast for the year 2015.

  This situation is not unique in the U.A.E. as a recent economic report by the National Bank of Dubai shows. Other GCC countries like Qatar have only 17% Nationals, Kuwait 19%, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 28%, Bahrain 45% and Oman 46% in their workforces. The National Bank of Dubai (NBD) has an ongoing commitment in providing training and development opportunities, to enable UAE Nationals to build banking careers and help the development of the UAE.  Specially designed and structured training programme help prosper the bankís desire to emiratisation and preservation of its traditional and substantial values of quality and service. The bank is proud that more than 32% of their workforce are UAE Nationals.

  In view of these statistics and the advent of the modern age with the universal emphasis laid on human beings as the main core of the developmental process, the UAE government is paying the utmost attention to this immensely important human factor. The government is doing so because it bases almost all its developmental plans and undertakings on human resource development input. This is being done in fulfilment of the Nationís contemporary statewide development requirements. It has set Emiratization as the major focus of education, training and workforce development.

  The process of Emiratization is now being practiced in all sectors in the U.A.E. and the prospect is that a big chunk of the expatriate population will be replaced by a National workforce over a period of time.

  The wide vision and the driving force behind Emiratization is His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

  As we witness many of the highly prestigious houses in the U.A.E. are following the lead of His Highness in making Emiratization as their first priority in the manpower planning. Al Habtoor Group has set a quota system in its Group of Companies targetting to achieve a 35% National workforce by the end of 2007 in all levels of all departments.

   

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