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Article

Ingo Forstenlechner

This exploratory study aims to analyse the conditions under which Emiratisation – the process of nationalizing the workforce in the UAE – can enable organizations to…

Abstract

Purpose

This exploratory study aims to analyse the conditions under which Emiratisation – the process of nationalizing the workforce in the UAE – can enable organizations to capitalize on local human capital.

Design/methodology/approach

Relying on an initial literature review, this study is based on a series of interviews with UAE national as well as expatriate managers, both from the public and private sector. Questions for the semi‐structured interviews were based on a review of practice and policy‐oriented literature in order to further the understanding of the topic.

Findings

With limited literature available on the topic, the initial aim of this study was to identify HR processes relevant to Emiratisation, however, it soon became evident that success could be attributed to very basic decisions taken long before HR processes became relevant. This paper concludes that there are mainly two ways of approaching Emiratisation: one is an effort geared at producing statistics for PR or avoidance of negative consequences, the other is a serious commitment to the integration of UAE nationals into the workforce. Evidence from interviews suggests the choice between these two ways determines the chances for successful Emiratisation.

Research limitations/implications

The literature review proved difficult due to the relative absence of the topic in scholarly journals, therefore the author had to rely on commercial publications as much as on official statistics. Another limitation is the author's use of interviews leading to theoretical saturation earlier than expected.

Practical implications

The lack of honesty regarding the motivation to invest in Emiratisation is a significant hindrance for the overall success of such programs. The waste of time, effort and ultimately the waste of human resources resulting from Emiratisation programs meant to produce only statistics or avoid negative consequences mandate a reorientation of the approach towards Emiratisation.

Originality/value

This study aimed to be the first into Emiratisation related HR processes but was – due to preliminary analysis of interviews – refocused towards the commitment to Emiratisation.

Details

Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues, vol. 1 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-7983

Keywords

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Article

Jasim Al‐Ali

The purpose of this paper is to examine Emiratisation and its antecedents from the perspective of national policy impacting private sector organisations' cultures, working…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine Emiratisation and its antecedents from the perspective of national policy impacting private sector organisations' cultures, working conditions and job specifications.

Design/methodology/approach

The qualitative and quantitative survey covers a sample of 20 executives or their peers in human resource management of large enterprises and relevant authorities in the public sector.

Findings

Barriers to Emiratisation were found to include low standards of education and skills of potential employees, inadequate English, and a lack of trust by employers in the work‐readiness of United Arab Emirates (UAE) nationals. From individuals' perspectives, it was reported that the nationals considered that the private sector offered little career opportunity and low wages in comparison to the public sector.

Research limitations/implications

This analysis may be viewed as a preliminary step to identify and prioritise the issues affecting Emiratisation. The paper's findings should be assessed from two perspectives. First, the key informants were from one region only, the Emirate of Dubai; and second, that this regionalism reflected on the breadth of companies approached to join the study. Thus, the findings of the present paper may be seen as preliminary in nature, and are intended to stimulate further research interest in factors impeding Emiratisation: government policy, organisational effectiveness and applicant preparedness.

Originality/value

To place Emiratisation in context, the literature on social capital predictors was examined to identify dimensions in the social fabric of the UAE and draw out parallel phenomena as themes for this study. With a paucity of Gulf literature on this theme, this paper augments social capital literature by analysis of opinion of business and public sector executives, illustrated by data drawn from the fields of banking and insurance in the private sector.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 28 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

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Article

Hugo Toledo

The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the difficulties of implementing emiratization, a policy that aims at increasing the participation of native workers in the UAE…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the difficulties of implementing emiratization, a policy that aims at increasing the participation of native workers in the UAE private sector by means of a government mandate. A second objective of the paper is to explore the conditions under which the emiratization policy can potentially increase the participation of native workers in the UAE private sector.

Design/methodology/approach

An extension of the Ramsey Rule is used as a relevant application for this study to show that within the context of a break‐even constraint, any deviation between the wage rate and the marginal factor cost that is not proportional to the deviation between the marginal revenue product and the marginal factor cost could affect the firm labor demand and profitability.

Findings

The theoretical models support the recommendations that the emiratization policy will tend to achieve some level of success in the short‐run, if implemented in firms that are operating in imperfectly competitive markets. In the medium‐run, a higher level of labor mobility for migrant workers could potentially increase employment opportunities for native workers.

Originality/value

The literature on labor protection in the GCC is almost non‐existent. This paper explores conditions under which given an externally imposed constraint on native employment, the participation of native workers in the UAE private sector could increase.

Details

Journal of Economic Studies, vol. 40 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3585

Keywords

Content available
Article

Abu Elias Sarker and Mohammad Habibur Rahman

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the rationale for using social engineering as a tool to impact the nationalization of workforce in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the rationale for using social engineering as a tool to impact the nationalization of workforce in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Design/methodology/approach

Interpretative and exploratory approaches have been employed for this research. Accordingly, the study has extensively reviewed government documents, reports of international organizations and relevant academic literature, including journal articles, conference papers and unpublished dissertations.

Findings

The findings show that the UAE Government has initiated multiple policies and programs to enhance participation of indigenous Emiratis in the burgeoning labor market which has been hitherto dominated by the expatriates. However, while the Emiratization programs are on the verge of fulfilling the targets in the public sector job market, significant gaps exist between the targets and accomplishments in the private sector, causing policy concern.

Originality/value

This paper links theoretical insights from the social engineering model used in the social sciences research to analyze the dynamics of workforce nationalization. The study will be helpful to inform further empirical research in this area.

Details

Public Administration and Policy, vol. 23 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1727-2645

Keywords

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Article

Mohammed Al‐Waqfi and Ingo Forstenlechner

Even though initiatives to increase the participation of citizens in the workforce have been in place for more than a decade in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the results…

Abstract

Purpose

Even though initiatives to increase the participation of citizens in the workforce have been in place for more than a decade in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the results are not impressive. Citizens' workforce participation – it is argued in the literature – is hindered by structural as well as attitudinal concerns. A key concern of this paper is to explore stereotypes which – as anecdotal evidence in the literature suggests – are a key hindrance to successful localisation.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey was completed by 310 expatriates and citizens. Exploratory factor analysis was used to understand the key factors describing how UAE citizens are perceived and stereotyped and ANOVA analyses were used to understand the determinants of such perceptions.

Findings

Findings confirm the general belief that Emiratis are negatively stereotyped by expatriates in the UAE labour market. Four themes or factors regarding perceptions of citizens were identified: generally negative perceptions with regard to skills and competencies, work ethics, cultural disposition, and perceived effectiveness of Emiratisation.

Research limitations/implications

The sample was not ideally balanced as it included more citizens compared to the overall composition of the labour market.

Practical implications

The implications of these negative stereotypes on intergroup relations and expected impacts on Emiratisation are discussed. Ultimately, this paper provides a new subject perspective on immigration, presenting the case of citizens being a minority in need of acculturation to their own country's work environment.

Originality/value

This paper is the first to empirically assess stereotyping and negative perceptions of citizens and its implications on workforce nationalisation in the GCC region.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 32 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

Keywords

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Article

Andy H Barnett, Michael Malcolm and Hugo Toledo

This is a policy paper that analyzes the economic impact of mandated employment quotas for citizen workers among firms in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The purpose of…

Abstract

Purpose

This is a policy paper that analyzes the economic impact of mandated employment quotas for citizen workers among firms in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the nature of the efficiency losses associated with these quotas, and then explore a workable policy alternative that can achieve the same employment objectives with lower efficiency loss.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper begins with an extensive discussion of UAE labor policy, together with some data and salient features of the UAE labor market. The authors use this discussion to motivate and analyze a theoretical model of the way in which labor quotas impact firm production, input employment and efficiency. The authors then extend this model to the proposed policy alternative.

Findings

The UAE’s labor quotas create inefficiencies on a number of fronts, including productive inefficiency, higher product prices and the possibility of reducing the number of jobs available to citizen workers. The proposed policy alternative has the potential to ameliorate these efficiency losses, while still creating jobs for citizens.

Originality/value

Labor quotas for citizen workers are a unique brand of labor regulation that has largely escaped economic analysis. Understanding their implications is informative in the context of labor market regulation generally, and particularly for countries with large expatriate labor forces that struggle to provide job opportunities for citizens.

Details

Journal of Economic Studies, vol. 42 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3585

Keywords

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Article

Ingo Forstenlechner

This paper sets out to identify HR‐relevant recommendations for workforce localization in the context of emerging Gulf economies. While previous research has focused on…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper sets out to identify HR‐relevant recommendations for workforce localization in the context of emerging Gulf economies. While previous research has focused on topics such as commitment or the influence of stereotypes, this paper aims to suggest concrete steps to help organizations in addressing the full scale of localization from recruitment to retention.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected predominantly through in‐depth, semi‐structured interviews with HR managers from both the public and private sector.

Findings

With a multitude of definitions and approaches to Emiratization, best practices are yet to be established. The paper provides a potential stepping‐stone towards these by identifying some of the adaptations needed to key HR processes to foster localization.

Research limitations/implications

There are difficulties in generalizing the data due to the limited sample size and there were significant difficulties in accessing relevant personnel, with another limitation being the tendency towards socially acceptable responses.

Practical implications

The paper puts forward several recommendations, the realization of which could positively influence the chances for successful localization – as opposed to widespread tokenism practices. This might support meaningful localization aiding both the employer and the employee by providing locals with meaningful and suitable work, while at the same time increasing the returns on human capital investment.

Originality/value

There has been no previous research which provides recommendations across key HR practices.

Details

Personnel Review, vol. 39 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

Keywords

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Article

Baker Ahmad Alserhan

While the legislative side of workforce nationalization as a key target area for public policies has been extensively studied and scrutinized, the marketing side has not…

Abstract

Purpose

While the legislative side of workforce nationalization as a key target area for public policies has been extensively studied and scrutinized, the marketing side has not. It remains mostly overlooked, leaving both researchers and practitioners with little or no information to begin with. This “marketing” information gap represents the focus of this paper and it is exactly what the author aims to bridge.

Design/methodology/approach

A thorough analysis of how nationalization policy has been perceived by the UAE workforce was carried out and the results of that analysis were used to identify the core components of a balanced strategy that aims at enhancing the image of Emiratisation as a public brand, or a public offering, and hence improving the implementation of the policy i.e. increase the employability of citizens and, at the same time, retain the much‐needed expatriate workforce.

Findings

The study, which consisted of 180 interviews collected in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), revealed that workforce nationalization as a government offering has been inadequately branded by stakeholders and the government did not engage the branding process at any level. The branding part of the policy was not addressed at all. In effect, the policy was left on its own in that regard. As a result, “brand Emiratisation” now stands for mutual private‐public distrust, implementation difficulties, and serious misgivings about the nature of the policy.

Originality/value

This is the first study internationally to address labor nationalization policies from a marketing perspective. As such the results and discussions therein have wide implications for the employment decisions in organizations, particularly as the number of countries imposing restrictions on the employment of foreign workers continues to rise.

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Article

John Raven

The purpose of this paper is to discuss issues and imbalances in the workforce in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that result from the nation's relatively recent emergence…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss issues and imbalances in the workforce in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that result from the nation's relatively recent emergence as a powerful economy in the world. A federal initiative entitled Emiratization is addressed that is intended to improve employment amongst the local Emirati population who, at present, make up a minority of the working population. The role that one federal tertiary education system, the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), contributes to this process is discussed with specific implications and challenges for Emiratizing the education system.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on secondary research concerning employment statistics and policy in the UAE and observations of HCT, specifically the BEd program within the colleges.

Findings

Three main challenges facing HCT in its attempt to train Emiratis for employment in the education sector in the UAE are discussed in the paper.

Practical implications

There are practical implications and suggestions discussed for improving the Emiratization of the teaching sector in the UAE. This sector is highlighted as a core area for the Emiratization initiative by the paper.

Originality/value

The UAE represents a unique cultural context, a blending of languages, religion, politics and ethics, with calls for rapid modernization of its government schools. This paper maps out the growing pains and so is of value to both educators and policy makers in similar settings.

Details

Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues, vol. 4 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-7983

Keywords

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Article

Bakr Ahmad Alserhan, Ingo Forstenlechner and Ahmad Al‐Nakeeb

The purpose of this paper is to examine attitudes towards diversity in an emerging Gulf economy whose workforce is dominated by expatriates and is under significant…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine attitudes towards diversity in an emerging Gulf economy whose workforce is dominated by expatriates and is under significant pressure to accommodate host country citizens. It seeks to examine employees' attitudes towards workforce diversity in the banking sector in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 100 employees from 11 banks are chosen randomly from banks operating in the UAE. Those employees are asked to answer a questionnaire containing various questions that cover the applauded benefits of diversity as identified in the related literature.

Findings

All banks have a diverse workforce, with nationals representing a minority in all of them. However, banks differ on the various indicators of diversity with some being more religiously diverse while others more diverse in terms of nationalities or languages. Overall, Islamic banks are the least diverse on all dimensions of diversity.

Research limitations/implications

Several obstacles are faced during the course of this study including limitations on access to employees, sampling limitations preventing more in‐depth analysis of certain aspects, lack of regional studies on diversity and the timing of the survey itself which coincide with the summer exodus of expatriates.

Originality/value

This paper provides useful information on attitudes toward diversity in an emerging Gulf economy, dominated by expatriates.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 32 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

Keywords

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