Are You Making Wise Emirati Talent Investments?

Attracting and retaining local talent is high on the agenda for organisations throughout the United Arab Emirates, so how can they ensure that it’s worth the investment?

Are You Making Wise Emirati Talent Investments?

3 Mar 2016 by  Charu Dhingra

Organizations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are committed to fulfilling the government’s vision of developing, empowering, and nurturing Emirati talent both in the public and private sector, yet they continue to launch Emiratization drives without a strategic or systematic approach. As a result, these organizations adopt and implement an Emiratization target without reference to the labour market, recruit without giving due consideration to attitude and aptitude, and fail to develop effective managers for a diverse workforce. What’s more, high salaries are not enough incentive—Aon Hewitt’s research shows that 59% of local nationals seek adequate coaching and mentoring at work.

So, what should your organization do to make wise talent investments in this unique market?

Wise Emirati talent investment


What are your recruitment targets?

Before starting a recruitment campaign, think carefully about the skills your organization needs and key positions to be held by local nationals. Then, conduct a labour market review to determine the availability of candidates with these skills and decide the roles to be filled through internal promotions followed by the ones to be filled through external recruitment.

How can you build your employer brand?

With so many organizations seeking capable local nationals, it’s important to ensure your organization offers a unique proposition to the discerning jobseeker. First, understand your current reputation in the talent market—current employees can offer a reasonable reflection of your brand (Aon Hewitt’s research shows that as many as 68% of Emiratis are proud to be part of their current organization), but local nationals from outside your organization can also offer valuable feedback to help you shape the communication of your employer brand.

Remember: Crafting a credible and appealing employer brand is not a one-off activity. As your organizational reputation and employees’ needs shift over time, so too must your employer brand be refined so as to remain relevant and attractive.


What are the right channels to attract local nationals?

Preventing unnecessary attrition starts at the recruitment stage. Define specific target audiences, and choose the appropriate channels to reach out to them. When evaluating respondents, it’s necessary to focus on their qualifications and experience but don’t miss out on those who have the right attitude and aptitude and can be trained to perform well.


How to create a welcoming environment that supports achievement?

Once the employment contract is signed, the focus shifts to ensuring that a new employee performs well and is satisfied enough in the organization to stay for a while. Yet Aon Hewitt’s research shows that only 43% of local nationals feel their current work environment helps them improve performance. This places great significance on the role managers play in providing support to employees beyond the conventional learning and development programs. Effective organizations tend to offer extensive coaching and mentoring schemes to drive performance and provide career growth in the long run, and therefore, increase retention.

When it comes to the challenges of Emiratization, there are no quick solutions. For organizations to ensure they’re making wise investments in Emirati talent, their leaders must be fully committed to and supportive of a systematic approach to all aspects of the employment life cycle—from recruitment to retirement.

Start a conversation with us

If you need advice on your Emirati talent strategies, get in touch with us today.

Charu Dhingra

With more than 10 years of HR experience, Charu is a Senior Leadership Consultant at Aon Hewitt Middle East, specializing in the areas of leadership development, employee engagement and shaping high performance work cultures, with a strong focus on managing workplace diversity. Charu is also the Research Lead for Aon Hewitt’s flagship research study, Qudurat, focused on devising regional solutions towards attracting and retaining national talent. Charu holds an MBA and is a certified instructional designer.

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Charu Dhingra
Dubai, UAE