Workforce Planning: Factors Influencing the Work of the Emiratis

Perceptions of Emiratisation

The distribution of responses shows that most participants disagree that it makes business sense to employ Emiratis. Out of 487 responses, 168 (34%) are neutral and 147 (30%) disagree with the assertion that it makes business to employ Emiratis. The implication is that organisations in the United Arab Emirates do not perceive Emiratisation promotes business. The employment of Emiratis does not make sense to employ Emiratis because they have low skill standards, need short working hours, and demand job security (Aljanahi 2017; Al-Asfour & Khan 2014). In this view, private organisations do not find it profitable to employ Emiratis because their demands surpass that of expatriates. Regarding the statement that organisations offer productive job opportunities to Emiratis, most respondents (62%) supports it. While 38% (183) of respondents agree that organisations provide productive job opportunities to Emiratis, 21% (102) of them remain neutral. These findings demonstrate that organisations in the UAE are gradually embracing Emiratisation for they generate and offer lucrative job opportunities to the nationals. Hazarika and Boukareva (2015) argue that Emiratisation policy has increased awareness among private organisations to create and provide job opportunities to Emiratis. Thus, the existence of job opportunities in both private and public organisations empowers the local talent in the UAE.

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The examination of the distribution of responses indicates that the majority of respondents (46%) deny that Emiratisation is back-door taxation. The trend of responses is that 24% (117) of respondents strongly disagree, 22% (109) disagree, and 32% (185) remains undecided on the statement that Emiratisation is back-door policy. Almutairi (2014) holds that the role of Emiratisation is to empower the locals, create productive job opportunities, and boost economic growth. In this view, it is this apparent that the respondents support Emiratisation as a policy to empower Emiratis and improve the distribution of employment opportunities in the labour market. The majority of respondents (23%) agree that they employee Emiratis because of the requirement of quotas. Moreover, 33% (163) of respondents stated were neutral on their perception of Emiratisation as a policy. Further analysis of responses indicates that most (73%) respondents disagree with the statement that they encounter internal resistance towards Emiratisation. Evidently, 30% (146) of respondents disagree that they experience resistance in the course of Emiratisation, while 21% (101) of them are neutral on the same issue. Thus, the findings imply that most organisations in the UAE do not encounter considerable resistance towards Emiratisation.

Social Factors

Concerning the statement that the UAE culture considers certain unsuitable for Emiratis, the majority (79%) of respondents supported it. The distribution of responses shows that respondents agree (32%) and strongly agree (47%) that organisations considers some jobs unsuitable for Emiratis due to the UAE culture. The distribution of data shows that Emiratis have unrealistic expectations in their job positions in various companies. Evidently, 76% of respondents stated that support the statement that Emiratis have unrealistic expectations. The responses indicate that 30% and 43% of respondents agree and strongly agree, respectively, that Emiratis have unrealistic expectations in their companies. Since Emirati nationals have low skill standards but demand short working duration, job security, and high salary scale, their expectations are unrealistic in the competitive labour market (Aljanahi 2017; Feitosa et al. 2014). The analysis of the performance of graduates reveals that they are productive in low-level positions. According to the majority (84%) of respondents, performance of national graduates is common in low-level positions. Specifically, 25% and 59% of respondents agree and strongly agree, respectively, that national graduates fit working in low-level positions. The distribution of responses demonstrates that Emiratis perform well in job positions such as customer care and provision of services to customers. Correspondingly, 49% and 24% of respondents agree and strongly agree that Emiratis are good in the service industry. Concerning the assertion that organisations do not follow up on applications made by Emiratis, the majority of respondents (51%) do not support. Evidently, 29% and 22% of respondents disagree and strongly disagree, in that order, that they do not ignore the application of Emiratis. Overall, social factors have a strong positive relationship with the willingness to recruit Emiratis through the creation and provision of lucrative job opportunities, but they have strong negative relationships with regret to recruit Emiratis as backdoor taxation (r = -0.82) and the internal resistance towards Emiratisation (r = -0.96).

Cultural Factors

The organisations tend to show that they experience cultural factors related to the influence of family members on their employees. Responses show that the majority (32%) of respondents remain neutral, while 24% of them agree that family members influence their employees. Cultural factors prevent women from participating and contributing to economic growth and development (Almazrouei & Pech 2015; Charles 2014; Ercan 2018). The distribution of responses shows that the majority of respondents (30%) agree that female national applicants have trouble to get employment due to cultural limitations. However, 17% of respondents are neutral regarding the influence of cultural factors on the employment of female nationals. Organisations hold that national employees have the ability to take responsibility in their positions. Whereas most respondents (42%) are neutral, 26% of them agree that Emiratis are capable of taking responsibility in their work. Nepotism is one of the cultural factors that hinder the achievement of Emiratisation in most organisations. Correspondingly, 45% and 28% of respondents agree and strongly agree that nepotism in the human resource management is a problem in the labour market. As a cultural issue, it is evident that Emirati employees lack conflict-solving skills (Goby et al. 2017). Most respondents (48%) agree that national employees have a weakness because they lack skills of conflict resolution in the workplace. Moreover, 24% of respondents strongly agree that the lack of conflict-resolution skills is the problem among national employees. Emirati employees do not have soft skills required in critical thinking, teamwork, leadership, application, and performance of task (Hijazi, Kasim & Daud 2017; Jabeen, Faisal & Katsioloudes, 2018). The improvement of cultural factors has a strong negative effect on the internal resistance to Emiratisation because they account for 69.5% of the variation. Additionally, cultural factors are strong predictors of the provision of job opportunities to Emiratis because it has a positive relationship and explains 93.6% of the variation.

Economic Factors

Comparative analysis of the demands of national and non-national employees shows some variations. The respondents support the statement that nationals are more expensive to employ than non-nationals do. Evidently, the majority of respondents (40%) agree that Emirati employees are more expensive to employ when compared to non-nationals. Additionally, 23% of respondents strongly agree that it is more expensive to employ Emiratis than expatriates. Given that factors hindering Emiratisation emanate from organisations, there is a strong negative relationship between economic factors and the internal resistance to Emiratisation (r = -0.83). The preference of hiring a national is relatively lower than that of hiring expatriates. The majority of respondents (39%) are neutral on preferential hiring of nationals, while 25% of them disagree that they prefer hiring Emirati employees. The high cost of hiring Emirati employees discourages organisations from considering Emiratisation in their employment scheme. While 27% of respondents agree that it is not cost-effective to hire nationals, 35% of them remain neutral. Correlation analysis demonstrates that economic factors have moderate relationship with the business sense to employ Emiratis (r = 0.63). Due to extra economic costs incurred in hiring nationals, organisations require the government to subsidise their salaries. The analysis of responses indicates that 28% and 33% of respondents strongly agree and agree that subsidisation of salaries would increase their preferences for Emirati employees respectively. The existence of a strong positive relationship between the economic factors the provision of the lucrative job opportunities (r = 0.94) implies that government efforts are essential in promoting Emiratisation. Additionally, economic factors have a strong relationship with the Emiratisation due to quota system. According to Toledo (2013), the enactment of legislations that support implementation of the quota system promotes Emiratisation. Thus, economic factors play a central role in Emiratisation because they explain 65.9% of the internal resistance, 58.8% of quota, and 39.2% of business sense.

Regulatory Factors

Since the UAE has established regulations that promote Emiratisation, organisations should be aware about their existence and act appropriately to comply. An overwhelming proportion of respondents (94%) from various organisations understand the existence of legislations that support Emiratisation. The distribution of responses shows that 57% and 37% of respondents agree and strongly agree that they understand the relevant framework of Emiratisation. Job security is one of the issues that derail the achievement of Emiratisation. Owing to the existence of stringent legislations that protect Emiratis from job dismissal, it is more difficult to fire nationals than non-nationals in the labour market (Frijns 2016). The majority of respondents (88%) hold that it is difficult to fire Emiratis once hired. Essentially, 30% and 58% of respondents agree and strongly agree that firing of Emiratis is difficult due to the nature of job security that legislations provide for them. To promote Emiratisation, the government has established regulations that set employment quotas in the private sector (Motherly & Hodgson, 2014). Organisations do not support the use of the quota scheme in Emiratisation because it compels them to employ nationals against their intentions. While the majority (39%) are neutral, 28% of respondents disagree that setting of legislations to promote Emiratisation through the quota system is an efficient solution. Regulatory factors have very strong negative relationship with the existence of the internal resistant to Emiratisation and accounts for 94.5% of the apparent variation. Due to the unwillingness of organisations to implement the requirement of quota and hire Emiratis, they look for loopholes in the legislations to avert Emiratisation. The analysis of responses shows that 19% agree while 15% agree with the assertion that private employers tend to avoid Emiratisation by exploiting available regulatory loopholes. Nevertheless, the majority of respondents (43%) are neutral on this subject of avoiding Emiratisation.

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Educational Factors

Comparative analysis shows that Emirati graduates have lower skill standards than non-nationals due to the nature of education system they undergo (O’Sullivan 2015). Most respondents (57%) strongly agree followed by 27% who agree that national graduates require additional training to prepare them well for their respective job opportunities. Lack of communication skills is another issue that hinder nationals from accessing lucrative jobs in the private sector. Although the majority (50%) stand on the neutral ground on the issue of lack of communication skills, 27% disagree while 21% agree. The dominance of expatriates in the private sector has increased the demand for sufficient command of English as a job requirement. The use of a common language is essential for effective communication because a significant number of organisations and expatriates prefer English. However, most respondents (29%) strongly disagree that nationals do not have adequate command of English for their job. Furthermore, 18% of respondents disagree that Emiratis have sufficient command of English that fit their job positions. Differences in the level of skills between nationals and non-nationals explain their disproportionate distribution in the private sector. Frequency distribution shows that respondents support the statement that there is a shortage of qualified national applicants. In total, 79% of respondents agree (58%) and strongly agree (21%) that there is shortage of qualified Emiratis in the labour market. The findings further demonstrate education has a very strong positive correlation with the provision of productive job opportunities (r = 0.97) and a very strong negative correlation with internal resistance towards Emiratisation (r = -0.84). According to Al-Waqfi and Forstenlechner (2014), education level has a strong relationship with the employment because it improves technical and soft skills of Emiratis. Therefore, it is apparent that education is a key factor that can influence the provision of job opportunities and the reduction of the internal resistance in organisations.

Motivational Factors

Motivational factors comprise also one of the issues that organisations encounter in the management of national graduates (Jawabri 2017). The majority of respondents (39%) disagree that absenteeism is an issue that is common among national graduates. However, 17% of respondents are neutral on the view that national graduates do not show up for at all. Owing to differences in skills levels, the management of national and non-national graduates varies in the UAE (Asan & Wirba 2017). The distribution of responses shows that the majority of respondents (36%) strongly disagree with the statement that the management of nationals is easier than that of expatriates. Since interns have acquired additional knowledge and skills in the labour market, they are more employable when compared to national graduates (McGuinness, Whelan & Bergin 2016). The findings demonstrate that most respondents (61%) hold that the nationals who have completed their internship programs are more employable than fresh graduates are. Essentially, 31% and 30% of respondents agree and strongly agree that internship enhances employability of Emirati graduates. The analysis of the data shows that most respondents (36%) remain neutral on the statement that the national graduates are industrious. However, 20% agree that the national graduates are industrious in their respective job positions. Comparatively, national graduates have higher levels of demands and expectations in the labour market, which make them difficult to motivate (Lim 2014). The majority of respondents (35%) indicated that they agree with the assertion that national graduates are hard to motivate because of they have high levels of expectations. Additionally, 22% of respondents strongly agree that a high level of expectations complicates motivation of national graduates. Correlation analysis demonstrates that motivational factors have a strong positive correlation with the employment of Emiratis as business sense (r = 0.70) and accounts for 48.3% of its variation among organisations. Al-Mehrzi and Singh (2016) acknowledge that motivation and engagement of Emiratis is low due to the lack of soft skills essential in the labour market. Emirati employees have many expectations in terms of high salary, job security, and short working hours, which are not tenable in the private sector where productivity is a critical parameter.

Reference List

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Aljanahi, MH 2017, ‘Challenges to the Emiratisation process: content analysis’, Human Resource Development International, vol. 20, nso. 1, pp. 9-17.

Almazrouei, H & Pech, RJ 2015, ‘Working in the UAE: expatriate management experiences’, Journal of Islamic Accounting and Business Research, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 73-93.

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Al-Mehrzi, N & Singh, SK 2016, ‘Competing through employee engagement: a proposed framework’, International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, vol. 65, no. 6, pp.831-843,

Almutairi, H 2014, ‘Competitive advantage through taxation in GCC countries’, International Business & Economics Research Journal (IBER), vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 769-778.

Al-Waqfi, MA & Forstenlechner, I 2014, ‘Barriers to Emiratisation: the role of policy design and institutional environment in determining the effectiveness of Emiratisation’, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, vol. 25 no. 2, pp. 167-189.

Asan, J & Wirba, V 2017, ‘Academic staff job satisfaction in Saudi Arabia : a case study of academic institutions in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia’, Research on Humanities and Social Sciences, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 73-89.

Charles, L 2014, ‘The role of women in the economic diversification of the United Arab Emirates’, Capital Business, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 49-50.

Ercan, S 2018, ‘Emirati women’s experience of job satisfaction: comparative effects of intrinsic and extrinsic factors’, South African Journal of Business Management, vol. 49, no. 1, pp. 1-10.

Feitosa, J., Kreutzer, C, Kramperth, A, Kramer, WS & Salas, E 2014, ‘Expatriate adjustment: considerations for selection and training’, Journal of Global Mobility: The Home of Expatriate Management Research, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 134-159.

Frijns, AWM, 2016, ‘The influence of the UAE context on management practice in UAE business’, International Journal of Islamic and Middle Eastern Finance and Management, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 236-253.

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Hijazi, S, Kasim, AL, & Daud, Y 2017, ‘Leadership styles and their relationship with the private university employees‟ job satisfaction in United Arab Emirates’, Journal of Public Administration and Governance, vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 110-124.

Jabeen, F, Faisal, MN & Katsioloudes, M 2018, ‘Localisation in an emerging gulf economy: understanding the role of education, job attributes and analysing the barriers in its process’, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International

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Lim, H 2014, ‘The emergent gen y workforce: implications for labour nationalisation policies in the UAE and Saudi Arabia’, Journal of Business Theory and Practice, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 267-285.

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