29 Oct 2020

Why more Emirati women are applying for private sector jobs post-coronavirus

Arabian Business
Why more Emirati women are applying for private sector jobs post-coronavirus

More Emirati women are applying for jobs in the private sector as the option to work from home due to the coronavirus pandemic becomes normalised, according to experts.

When it comes to Emiratisation, coronavirus has been both a blessing and a roadblock, said Danish Haidri, Chief Partnerships Officer of JobsForNationals.com, an employer branding and digital marketing platform.

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“I think there is a culture shift going on because, if you look at some countries in the West, it’s not taken as unprofessional if you bring your kids to work or ask for flexible working hours. And I think that has also been happening here recently, post-Covid,” Haidri added.

Women clients told Haidri they are more comfortable applying for jobs now that the option to work from home has been normalised.

Nicola Ablett, the company's partner for academic outreach, said that Covid may have created a more favourable environment that could see young female Emiratis leading the way to more local hires in the private sector despite ongoing challenges.

Both said that there is a bigger opportunity for Emiratis in the private sector labour market after a significant number of expats repatriated during the early weeks of the pandemic when the UAE went into lockdown.

“Because of the Covid impact, it is more likely that the internationals will look at the local population with a fresh pair of eyes,” said Ablett.

“People say think outside of the box but if you haven’t used the box you’re in, then what’s the point of looking outside of it?” asked Ablett.

“Now both employers and employees are looking around that box,” she added.

The comments come as a growing percentage of educated young Emiratis want a chance to prove themselves in multinationals and large private-sector corporations rather than rely on public sector jobs.

About 70 percent of Emirati graduates are women, said Ablett, and are highly qualified and ready to compete in the workforce.

“Mostly female UAE nationals say they want to be on an even playing field with expats,” said Haidri, adding: “They have that eagerness, drive, and determination to believe they can compete on the same grounds as an expat.”

 

But this opportunity may have to wait until the job market finds its feet again in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“There is definitely a negative impact on human potential because when you are cutting down costs, you are also cutting down your workforce,” said Haidri.

“Because of the continued situation we are in, a lot of companies have also delayed any hiring plans, let alone Emiratisation,” he added.

But even this situation may be “a blessing in disguise”, he said, saying that employees "have time to refocus, to re-strategise, to look at what skills you have and at what skillset the market will be open for in 2021 and to basically invest in yourself".

Both Haidri and Ablett urged multinationals specifically, and the private sector employers in general, to keep an open mind when it comes to Emiratisation.

“There needs to be a mind shift with private companies. The government has done a lot but, at the end of the day, the employer has to take the initiative and it needs to be part of their purpose, not their CSR,” said Haidri.

 

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