UAE’s big boost to private sector jobs

UAE Ministers at the launch of the second set of reforms

As part of the UAE’s ‘Projects of the 50’ plan, a series of major projects to boost the country’s human capital and increasing the number of Emiratis employed in the private sector were announced, last month.

The UAE unveiled a sweeping programme of reforms and financial incentives to drive new private sector opportunities for both young and experienced Emiratis, with an investment of AED24 billion ($6.5 billion) to create 75,000 new private sector jobs for nationals.

The new announcements include grants for students and fresh graduates to take up private sector roles, an AED1 billion graduate business development fund, a government-backed new private sector child allowance and unemployment benefit, as well as career break and early retirement schemes for Federal government employees starting new businesses, reported Emirates News Agency Wam.

“A decent life for our citizens, their children and the generations to come remains our greatest priority,” said President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. “Working with the private sector to enhance career prospects is the way to ensure that those opportunities endure for decades to come.”

Announcing the new initiatives, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, said: “As we mark our fiftieth year as a nation, we are evolving from building world-class national infrastructure to creating brilliant sources of value and human capital. Our people are our pride and our future and we are investing to build the ideas and aspirations of our youth to create new futures in our successful business, trade and knowledge economy.”

The programme will be managed by the newly created Emirati Talent Competitiveness Council, a body chaired by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.

The initiatives include the Emirati Salary Support Scheme, a one-year salary support of up to AED8,000 per month paid to Emiratis to incentivise the recruitment and training of graduates in private sector companies. A monthly support of up to AED5,000 will be paid for up to five years. Both sets of salary support schemes are subject to certain terms and are based on a range of defined target salaries.

The Merit Programme gives a monthly AED5,000 top-up to Emirati workers in specialised fields, including nurses, accountants and financial auditors, commercial lawyers, financial analysts and coders; the Pension Programme provides a subsidised five-year government-paid contribution on the company’s behalf against the cost of pension plans for Emirati staff and full support for the Emirati’s contribution across the first five years of their employment.

Private sector companies will be able to build the Emirati contribution to their workforce over time. Focused on placing Emiratis in the private sector, the effort will start with a target of 2 percent Emiratis in skilled roles contribution rising in scale to a 10 percent Emirati contribution over the coming five years.

Vocational training and development programmes, include the Talent Programme, an AED1.25 billion investment in developing specialised vocational skills for Emiratis, with internationally recognised certifications in property management, accounting and business management and the Apprentice Programme,  a train-to-hire initiative to build vocational training for Emiratis in private and semi-private companies with a range of financial awards across a number of business sectors.

An AED1 billion Graduate Fund is to be dedicated to giving microloans to final year university students and fresh graduates in order to support them in exploring new business startups. The scheme will be implemented in collaboration with UAE universities.

The National Healthcare Programme is an educational grant programme that targets the development of 10,000 Emirati healthcare workers within the coming five years, rolling out a Graduate Healthcare Assistant Programme, a Higher Diploma in Emergency Medicine and a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. The Programme is supported and led by Fatima College of Health Sciences and the Abu Dhabi Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (ACTVET).