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Less than 1% Emiratis to be jobless by 2021.

Nationals encouraged to enter private sector and build career for themselves; unemployment among Emiratis reduced to 2.7 per cent in 2014

Dubai -- A new initiative announced by the Emirates National Development Programme (ENDP) is hoping to reduce unemployment among Emiratis. Working in line with the objectives set out in 2021 Dubai Plan, ENDP has set a target to reduce unemployment among Emiratis to less than one per cent by 2021.

Essa Al Mulla, Chief of National Work Force Development at ENDP, said the goal was achievable with 'things moving in the right direction.'

Speaking with Khaleej Times, Essa said: "Our long-term plan is aimed at creating a sustainable economy to position Dubai as an important global economic hub.

A quarter of Dubai's population (25 per cent) will be in the age range of 15 to 24 by 2021. This is the fastest growing age group and we have to put in place a long term plan to grow sustainably."

Unemployment among Emiratis had reduced to 2.7 per cent in 2014, according to figures provided by the Dubai Statistics Centre. The push for Emiratisation will promote young Emiratis to take up careers in construction, healthcare, education and logistics. "We want to undertake a long term workforce planning initiative to anticipate future jobs. This will allow us to work closely with higher education institutions," he added.

The entity has successfully recruited more than 13,000 nationals in private sector jobs -- helping reduce unemployment. An additional 55,000 UAE nationals are expected to enter the workforce by 2021. Traditionally, young Emiratis are inclined to take up jobs in the government sector. Senior officials at ENDP have worked hard to encourage nationals to enter private sector jobs and build a career for themselves.

"Emiratis have to have open minds and enter the private sector. This can help them develop a career with growth opportunities. Also, private sector companies can pay higher salaries in the long-term," added Essa. The entity is hoping to change the mindset of parents by undertaking counselling sessions.

"We want to reach at least 500 parents every year to explain why working work the private sector can be beneficial to Emiratis." The development programme is also hoping to encourage employee retention in the private sector. In 2014, ENDP helped 1,258 Emiratis get recruited into private organisations.

"We are focusing on the quality side by increasing the retention. Moving into the workforce may sometimes require a compromise on salary expectations but it is a more fulfilling experience. Most of the times, it is difficult to convince the parents to allow their children to work in private companies," concluded Essa.

Samia Hassan, a new account supervisor at RAK Bank believes the private sector represents 'huge potential' for Emiratis like her.

"In the beginning, my family was not happy and didn't easily accept the idea of me working in the banking sector. But after they saw me develop and improve in many ways, both personally and professionally, they became very supportive and are now happy with my career."

Echoing similar thoughts, Abdul Hakeem Al Hemeiri, Manager of UAE National Affairs at UAE Exchange said: "When you start work in any private sector organisation there will be some difficulties. It might be the family, the working hours, the holiday timings or the long-term prospects. If you want to build a future you should look past these barriers to gain a solid career."

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Jan 20, 2015
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