GNcareers, from Gulf News

Fight is on to retain Emirati employees

Fight is on to retain Emirati employeesImage Credit: Supplied

UAE businesses in key sectors have a task on their hands to retain UAE nationals on their payrolls. In many instances, retention is as difficult as attracting them in the first place, according to a survey by Mercer, the consultancy.

In it, around half of the Emirati employees said they planned to stay put with their employer for three years at the most. Another 14 per cent said they would do so only for five years with the current employer.

''Close to two-thirds of all Emiratis in jobs today will be in a new job with a new employer by the time the Expo 2020 winds up in Dubai,'' the report states. ''The results suggest that employers need to work harder on engagement principles and practices if those tenure-related statistics are to change.''

For UAE businesses, this translates into higher operating costs. But the flip side is that they will have to go through an equally rigorous process to find a suitable candidate with similar credentials or work experience.

But they do have options, such as ''interventions like retention bonuses or promotions and career opportunities''. These can have the ''most impact'', the report adds.

For employees, such compensations need not only be about cash. They are showing ''heightened interest'' in reward and recognition programmes or practices not involving cash.

They are also comfortable with fringe benefits, such as better access to healthcare, as well as retirement and/or education benefits for their children.

''Leadership and development programmes were considered equally and most important by employers and employees alike,'' the report adds.

For Emiratis fresh to the workplace, ''the relevance of a job to their education as the second-most important element in taking on a job, after pay.''

The Mercer findings saw a participation from 52 organisations in the employer section of survey. There were also responses from 462 Emirati students and 318 employees.

UAE businesses getting better with Emiratisation targets

According to the Mercer findings, 46 per cent of employers polled reported they were on track with their targets.

And 56 per cent had specific policies or programs in place on Emiratization. But 25 per cent responded that the question — or the policy — didn't apply to them.

''This suggests there are either no targets set for certain industry sectors or never enough qualified Emiratis to take on roles,'' the report notes. ''Further, close to half of all employers polled stated that across all career levels, Emiratis made up less than 10 per cent of the total workforce of their company.''

Find out why only 2 in 10 UAE workers are ‘engaged' in their jobs

Source: Staff Report, gulfnews.comGN