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What does a recruitment career in UAE look like?

A recruitment career in the UAE under the new Emiratisation Law 2024 will demand a strategic shift towards sourcing local Emirati talent.

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The new UAE Emiratisation Law requires private sector companies to increase their Emirati workforce by 2% annually.
Recruitment will emphasise training Emiratis, collaborating with educational institutions to fill skill gaps.
Compliance and reporting will be vital, requiring robust tracking and strategic partnerships to meet targets.

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According to the new UAE Emiratisation Law 2024, (50+ Employees) private-sector employees must achieve a minimum of 2% year-on-year growth in their Emirati workforce for skilled positions. The law aims to increase the participation of UAE nationals in the private-sector workforce, presenting several significant impacts on recruitment careers in the UAE.  

What to expect from the new law 

The new law introduces quota requirements, whereby private sector companies are required to meet specific quotas for the employment of UAE nationals. This applies to various categories of companies, with targets set based on the number of employees or the type of industry. Companies that fail to meet these set targets can expect to face penalties, with fines being potentially substantial, motivating businesses to prioritise the hiring of Emiratis.  

To encourage compliance with this new law, the government offers incentives such as reduced fees for government services, training subsides, as well as other benefits to companies that meet or exceed their Emiratisation quotas. It emphasises the need for continuous professional development for Emirati employees, with companies being encouraged to invest in training programs to ensure that Emiratis are well-prepared and supported in their roles in the private sector.  

The overarching goal of the new law highlights the need to integrate more Emirati nationals into the private sector workforce, thus diversifying the economy and reducing reliance on expatriate labour. This is part of a broader strategy for the UAE to create sustainable employment opportunities for nationals and enhance their participation in the country’s economic development.  

Recruitment in UAE 

A recruitment career in the UAE offers a unique set of opportunities and challenges that differ from other markets. With the job market being heavily influenced by its economic diversification policies, leading to a high demand for talent in emerging sectors such as tech, renewable energy, and tourism. This demand creates a fertile ground for recruiters who are adept at navigating a multicultural and multilingual talent pool.  

Additionally, the UAE’s strategic position as a global business hub bridging the East and West offers recruiters the opportunity to operate on an international scale, frequently filling roles that draw candidates from around the world. However, this advantage also demands that recruiters possess a thorough understanding of diverse immigration laws and employment regulations that are specific to the region. The rapid pace of development in the UAE also means that there is a consistent focus on upskilling and staying current with the latest recruitment technologies and strategies. This could mean leveraging advanced AI-driven tools or sophisticated candidate management systems to stay competitive in the evolving recruitment landscape.  

How will it impact recruitment careers in UAE? 

The Emiratisation law is likely to shift the recruitment space in the UAE, imposing significant changes and introducing new challenges and opportunities for recruitment professionals.  

Demand for local talent 

An immediate effect of the new law will be a surge in demand for Emirati candidates. Private sector companies now being required to meet specific quotas will necessitate a strategic shift in recruitment practices. Recruitment agencies will therefore need to focus heavily on sourcing and attracting local talent. This shift will likely involve developing specialised recruitment strategies that highlight the advantages of employing Emirati nationals, such as their understanding of local culture and business practices, as well as the benefits of complying with government regulations.  

Training and development  

To ensure that Emirati candidates are well-prepared for various roles in different industries, we can expect an increased emphasis on training and development programs. Recruitment professionals will need to collaborate closely with educational institutions and training centres to bridge any skill gaps. This may involve designing bespoke training programs that align with the needs of private sector employers. By equipping Emirati candidates with the necessary skills and competencies, recruitment agencies can enhance their employability and ensure a steady pipeline of qualified candidates.  

Compliance and reporting 

With the introduction of new quotas and regulations, compliance and reporting will become critical functions within recruitment agencies and HR departments alike. Agencies will need to establish robust processes to help track and report on their progress in meeting Emiratisation targets. This could lead to the creation of new roles that are focused solely on compliance and administrative tasks related to the law. Regular auditing and reporting will become essential to demonstrate adherence to the regulations, demanding a detailed understanding of the legal requirements and meticulous record-keeping.  

Partnerships and collaborations 

In the drive to meet Emiratisation targets, recruitment firms will likely form strategic partnerships with government bodies, educational institutions and other organisations. These collaborations will be instrumental in developing a pipeline of qualified Emirati candidates. Initiatives such as internships, apprenticeships, and job fairs that target UAE nationals are likely to become more common. In building these partnerships, entities will be able to create a supportive and sustainable ecosystem that facilitates the entry of Emirati candidates into the private sector workforce.  

Market competitiveness 

As companies strive to comply with Emiratisation targets, the competition for top Emirati talent will only intensify. Recruitment agencies will therefore need to enhance their employer branding efforts to attract and retain the best candidates. This might involve highlighting the benefits of working with companies, showcasing success stories of Emirati employees, and leveraging social media and other platforms to reach a wider talent pool of potential candidates. Additionally, offering competitive salaries and career development opportunities will be crucial in securing top talent.  

The new Emiratisation law marks a significant transformation in the UAE’s recruitment landscape, introducing a host of changes and opportunities for recruitment professionals. These professionals must adapt their strategies to focus on sourcing local talent, investing in training and development, ensuring compliance with new regulations, forming strategic partnerships, and enhancing employer branding efforts. By effectively navigating these challenges, they can capitalise on the opportunities presented by the new law, contributing to the UAE’s broader goal of creating sustainable employment opportunities for its nationals and diversifying the economy. 

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