30 December, 2008

Please share your opinion on Emiratization

Can I please ask for your participation in a survey on Emiratization, which should not take longer than 5 - 10 minutes to complete.

The purpose of this survey is to better understand employers' and managers' perceptions of Emiratization and their experience with and perception of the people at the centre of this topic - UAE nationals in the workplace.

Click here to take the English language version of the survey

Click here to take the Arabic language version of the survey

A key issue a multitude of stakeholders, academics and practitioners alike simply don’t understand at this point is why exactly Emiratization is not working to the extent it should, while at the same time everybody is an expert in Emiratization and has an opinion, a story or a ready stereotype why it doesn’t work. The truth is more likely that we don’t really know why it isn’t working, and therefore we also don’t know where to start to make it work. This is an issue we are hoping to shed light on by putting this survey in front of a larger audience.

Should you have any questions or feedback, please do not hesitate to contact the authors of the survey directly, the contact details of whom you can find on the welcome page of the survey.

Thank you !

19 comments:

Mars said...

seems interesting. will give it a go.

Arabietta said...

As an Emirati female myself, I thought some of the questions were a bit 'dodgy' (the "Emiratis are lazy" one for example) but I found that most of the options were infact valid issues that I and my friends, both local and expat, have come across before and hoped wouldn't be ignored. I'm glad it touched upon the subject of 'wasta/image problems/nepotism' because they are by far the greatest hurdles faced by Emiratis.

All in all: good survey.

An eye for detail. said...

You are going to distort the survey results with this...

"The purpose of this survey is to better understand EMPLOYERS' and MANAGERS' perceptions of Emiratization and THEIR experience with and perception of the people at the centre of this topic - UAE NATIONALS in the workplace."

How are you going to ensure only employers and managers and UAE nationals answer the survey?

Tsk. Tsk.

A Blessing in Tragedy said...

Blah Blah and more blah.

Where an Emarati candidate is available, ready, willing, and has the qualifications, he is a much better asset to a company. he can do the job just as well, BUT his connections will make things go smoothly. This is seen often.

Of course, if you hire a dumbass from Bani Yas who never finished HS... that wont be the case.

As a manager, and a HUGE supporter of Emaratization, I do look for good candidates.

Issues though arise in the form of:

foriegn HR managers who have been with the organization since the last ice age and are deathly scared of a bright new emarati graduate (case in point, as an American educated Emarati, with the backing of a good last name, a good CV, and "the right people in the right places" the Jordanian HR manager shat his pants, and is VERY nice to me... to my face. Luckily for me, I am given printouts of his emails about me (wasta is good)

Then again, I was handed an Emarato girl as an employee who has no higher education, cant speak arabic well, cant speak english at all, and couldnt calculate the interest on a CD for a single month... and they hired her at a bank... and Im supposed to "help her career development."

Sabotage like that happens everyday. "See! we hired Emaratis and they didnt work out!"

I sent her to a different branch.

An issue with the survey: Emarati... in general. Where it says graduate, thats fine, you have narrowed it down.

In general, in my work, the young educated emaratis are more motivated, willing to work longer hours (the single ones) and are willing to take any courses/training I suggest. most ask for more training. ASK. They dont wait for me to assign it to them.

I have only ever had one non emarati ask for training in 2 years.

So ot really depends. motivation is a personal thing.

Also, I take pride when an employee I helped take shape ends up in a managerial position. foreign managers not only dont, they feel threatened.

In general though, single male emaratis are (in my experience) either the worst employee ever or the best. no inbetweens.

Women... Sigh. they are Divas, prima donnas, and have way too much cultural red tape. and if their manager iisnt Emarati, they will continue to act that way.

Then again, thats also true for non emarati women that have worked under me. Hum...

As for English and people skills. I've never met an American who can bullshit better than me. Again, depends on the person.

Editor said...

On the sidelines:

FNC (Federal National Council) recommends to reduce the dependence on the foreign labour by:

* Introduction of quota for non-Arab Labour
* Implementation of Federal Law for property ownership
* Changes in regulations and fees (more than double) for family and domestic help sponsorship

A Blessing in Tragedy said...

Introduction of quota for non-Arab Labour

Thats funny. The foreign arabs are the worst. I much prefer South Asian employees to Arabs in almost anything.

Dubai Entrepreneur said...

ABIT, this generalization of foreign managers feeling threatened is exaggerated and unfair.

Emirati's don't have the experience that foreign managers and experts bring. Certainly not enough to cover all the jobs available in the UAE. There is no 'threat' of Emirati's taking over the job market. Even if they were all exceptionally educated, they still wouldn't be enough.

I post for jobs. I never had an Emirati apply. I tried recruiting companies, classifieds and online job portals. I'm not complaining, but I'm not going out of my way to look for them. They are obviously not interested in what I have to offer (fair enough).

The general perception of non-Gulf Arabs of Gulf Arabs is this: they are inexperienced and yet given positions they are unqualified to hold. This actually holds quite true in most cases.

I think Dubai is a bit of an exception, as I have seen young and inexperienced people perform under pressure and deliver. Emirati's, yes. How they got there in the first place is obviously going to have to do with their last name and/or family network.

I did notice, however, that whenever I deal with locals in banks or government institutes, the females disappoint. It appears as though there is a severe lack in training or understanding of what it is they are doing. The males generally seem to know what they're doing.

I'm not sure why that is. I don't think the government discriminates against them in training, etc. I've always wondered what would cause this disparity in performance. Anyone?

A Blessing in Tragedy said...

The general perception of non-Gulf Arabs of Gulf Arabs is this: they are inexperienced and yet given positions they are unqualified to hold. This actually holds quite true in most cases.

No, that is the farthest generalization from the truth. And it stems from the fact that jealousy if a bitch.

Im sorry, but I am far more qualified and educated than the fossils that are higher than me. and it shows. I am where I am in a 1/10th of the time it took them to get here. and I will be in their place very very soon.

A member of my bank's HIGHER management cant write a 3 line email. Yeah, he's way more qualified than me. Sarcasm. He does however, have an excellent team of mostly Indians who are amazing, and under paid, and make sure he looks like a savior.

ABIT, this generalization of foreign managers feeling threatened is exaggerated and unfair.

No, it isnt. When Im told point blank by the Sr. GM of the WHOLE bank that I WILL be taking so and so's place in 5 years... yeah, trust me, they will sabotage my chances. because when I get there, they are forced to retire.

As for the females, as I said, Im a manager at a bank, and I have had very very good female employees, and I have had ones that really truly made me think who the hell did they do to get this job, cause they didnt get it based on their brains.

That being said, Emarati women will, in general, lack in productivity for any one or combo of the following:

They dont care. Most still get a generous living expense from their parents. I am 2 or 3 grades ahead of most women who started at the bank with me because they dont care, I do.

Social norms, Many women are expected to go in on time, and leave on time. thats it. I, to this day, am at work about an hour early, and although my official timing is till 3 I leave most days after 6... today I got home at 10:20. A man isnt confined by those social expectations.

Generally, but not always the case, women arent exposed to a mixed environment, where they interact with males and females, and from many different backgrounds.

I on the other hand, having a father who's grade now is a minister's grade, lived in 4 European countries, 9 US states, and Japan. Men usually have a better exposure to he world than women, and this helps them in services.

Although emarati women usually out do us guys in terms of grades. they dont really retain much of that knowledge. the guys do.

Example, My sister's BS was in Accounting, my BA was in Finance. I retained more accounting knowledge than she did. because she got married, and didnt HAVE to work, I am expected to provide, and because of my family, Im expected to provide well. Women have no such expectations.

Funny story today. One of my tellers applied for his annual leave. Ok. He deserves it. One of the best, if not the best employee I have. He is Indian, and his drive is amazing. he is only a teller, BUT he can handle loans better than most credit officers, he knows every in and out of our system, and every procedure n the book.

I need a replacement for 33 days, so I ask our HO for one. Today as Im looking thru the reports for yesterday's transactions, a man comes in, and says hi. He is the replacement, and is here to learn for a few days before my teller goes on leave.

his 1st comment before anythig else (remember, I get to work early, and am already seated at my desk) "They dont bring you the morning paper and your tea? Ill go get it for you!"

"I dont read the paper in the office, I do at home afterwards on the internet... and I dont drink tea... or coffee... Its bad for you"

Because (the guy is Egyptian) a manager's main job is to read the paper and drink coffee.

He then proceeded, after an hour of talking, to "suggest" some Lebanese girl from a different branch for an opining he knows I have.

"You are telling me how to run my branch?"

"No, but you know, better than some westerner or god forbid Indian, right?"

A bit later, he switches to Arabic in front of a British client ans says something to the effect of "You have to put up with many of these kinds (westerners), Im sorry"

That is the staple and more or less average foreign Arab bank employee. He is better than everyone else, lazy as hell, and a huge racist.

That British client is a prime client, she makes 55K a month and I am on a good personal 1st name basis with her.

A different client comes in... new one. after some talking, he asks if I know so and so. Yes, he's my uncle. Oh! you are blah blah's son? Yes, the eldest. Oh!

Opens 2 accounts.

New Arab replacement... Masha'lla! You are so very good with the customers! Im not just saying this in front of you... or because of who your father is... no, Mashalla mashalla mashalla!

Indians... and really any non arab dont do that. They do their jobs, usually well, and dont bullshit.

The reason why I dont get along with most (not all, I have a Jordanian guy who is AMAZING) is the fact that the Arab way is tea! talk! bullshit!

I studied in the US. I want shit done fast, correctly, and on time. I dont even want you to talk to me if you dont absolutely have to.

Now if, if this replacement was GOOD at his job, I might have let this all slide...

"you're a teller?
"Yes"
Loans?
Not my job.
CDs?
Nope.
credit cards?
no, Im a teller.

So Indians (God forbid) are bad... yet my indian teller could do my job... and you... are a worthless waste of skin...

I sent him back to the HO with an emailed report that might just cost him his job.

So point of this story? 95% of Arabs are like that. Got to where they are because of repetition over 15, 20, 25 years, and have not had an upgrade since., and I, an Emarati, am not, and my Indian Teller... he's getting a promotion...

And I need a good customer service officer, preferably female, so I can take advantage of the male clients who I manage... who are loaded.

Any takers?

The services sector is changing. and will continue to. Those Arabs who have been there for 20 years, and are holding on to their positions (and cant write an email) are a dying breed. and bright, up to date, educated Emaratis are starting to inflow.

No, there isnt enough of a stock of those types of Emaratis to fill every job, but the available today is MUCh larger than 10 years ago. And the more that stock grows, the more old Arabs jobs are in danger.

Thats a reality. My father was one of the 1st Emarati generations educated (in the US, graduated in 82) and in the years since then, the number of well educated well qualified Emaratis has increased. and Its going to continue to.

That all said, I am not really for or against Emaratization. Or rather, I am for it IF it can be pulled off correctly.

The young woman in my 1st post here, who cant calculate a return on a simple 1 month CD... not the right way. She should have never been hired. I can find a better substitute of a different nationality.

Most Arabs at my workplace do not like me because I level the playing field. I dont care if my employee is Indian, Arab, British, or (and people get annoyed when I say this) a black gay jew. as long as you do your job well.

But if I have 2 canditates, one is Emarati, and one isnt, and they are both on par, I will choose the Emarati, every time.

Anonymous said...

To "A blessing in Tragedy". You are right about one thing, you bullshit better than any Yankee out there.

Like your style though, too bad you keep on mentioning that your dad is this or that. But then I am in no position to judge you.

Foreign exposure was the right thing for your and that is the problem with this country, is the lack of affordable good education. Instead of building the highest building, they should create the best university with affordable rates.

Dubai Entrepreneur said...

But if I have 2 canditates, one is Emarati, and one isnt, and they are both on par, I will choose the Emarati, every time.

Why on Earth would you choose a non-Emirati?

ABIT, I've gone to school with the rich and royal, so I know the mentalities. Maybe the UAE local culture is too restrictive on the women.. Having a brand name family name doesn't always make your life better.

I also think that the types of people who come across you are of a certain type that I haven't really come across much. Kind of is why people making generalizations are accused of being unfair :)

I think a large part of the difference in experiences is that you are in an environment where Emirati's work. My environment (and I suspect a LOT of people here) involves 0 internal interactions with Emirati's. So, the competition and dynamics are fundamentally different.

One thing's for sure -- being so and so's son or brother does nothing for me personally. You are what you are. You either know your stuff or you don't.

Also, I think the (work) culture in Abu Dhabi is fundamentally different from that of Dubai. The same goes for the type of people each city attracts. I know the lines are getting blurred as we go, but this has been my experience.

Anonymous said...

I am a foreign HR manager who works for a goverment based organisation

i would like to bring a issue with such Emiratization case

last month our firm advertised for business devlopment mgr opening and in an multi ethinic community like the UAE. u usally attract large applicants from europe to asia to australia ..

on accessing the post even though the HR team felt that an european was better poised to handle the job smoothly( coz he was from a red brick uni in the UK) the job was offered to an Emirati who just manged to scrap a degree from a US university...

after a few months on checking the emirati guys degree verfication process we were shocked to see that his degree was a duplicate and was a from a illegal made up university.......... ( irony : that emirati guys still works for the organistion in a much lesser post )

this above example is a highlight of how the UAE nationals want to push an EMirati in securing a job..

total bias this would have never happend in any other part of the Whole world....

Proud Emirati said...

You can simply go to India and buy a degree there.

A Blessing in Tragedy said...

To "A blessing in Tragedy". You are right about one thing, you bullshit better than any Yankee out there.

Like your style though, too bad you keep on mentioning that your dad is this or that. But then I am in no position to judge you.

My uncle is even more important than my dad, and his brother in law, and my other uncle, and most of my older cousins. Whats your point?

People in power here got there for 2 reasons. They are political powerhouse names... like the Darmaki's or Suwaidis for example. Who helped build the UAE from scratch (For example, HE Ahmed Khalifa Al Suwaidi is probably more influential that most of Sh. Zayed children, other than Khalifa and Mohamed)

Or worked their asses off like the Al Futaim, Khoori, Harmoodi, Lari, Al futaim... Most of whom started in the UAE as House maids since they are of Iranian origin. (yeah, Al Futaim started as a merchant and Al Khaja as house maids)

My family is one of the 2nd section. My uncle was educated in the US BEOFRE the UAE was born. and every generation has been ever since. So Im sorry if I take pride in my family's capabilities. It's been a long standing and expected role for over 40 years. I was given the best education because alot is expected of me. If you dont understand that, thats fine. In the west (at least in the US) one is expected to make something of HIMSELF on HIS OWN. but dont act like relying on my family is a bad thing. Family, for a well off one here, it is EXPECTED that you CONTINUE the family growth. Going off on my own would be the ultimate slap in the face culturally, Family is paramount.

Another example is living quarters. I make a VERY good living. but it is expected of me to live in my father's house. I could leave this house and have almost any apartment I want on my own, but thats not done culturally. Even after I marry and have kids, I will still be expected to live with my father, maybe not in the same house, but on one of the houses on his land. Sure, I will pay the rent there, and it will be MY house, but I will always be under my father/uncle/aunts, but this is a cultural expectation. And like I said, Family expectations are put before your own.

Oh, and yes, I can bullshit better than an American... Im a Banker... It's a must, right before knowing how to count but right after work ethics. You dont want a lazy non-bullshitter banker, trust me.

Also, I think the (work) culture in Abu Dhabi is fundamentally different from that of Dubai.

You are 100% correct with that one. As the work culture in say Phoenix is very different than in maybe... New York.

Instead of building the highest building, they should create the best university with affordable rates

I agree with that 100%. When it was time for my education, back in 2001, Abu Dhabi had NO university. My choice was the HCT (which I attended for a semester and hater) or be shipped off to the US.

Today though, Abu Dhabi has 3 universities, 2 of which have govt backing (but are not govt owned) and one in particular (Abu Dhabi University - ADU) is preatty good. My youngest full brother (my dad has 2 wives) goes there, he chose it instead of going to the US. Our 1st non-US educated member.

I myself am thinking of attending for my post grad. It is really on its way to being a great uni.

I am a foreign HR manager who works for a goverment based organisation

i would like to bring a issue with such Emiratization case

last month our firm advertised for business devlopment mgr opening and in an multi ethinic community like the UAE. u usally attract large applicants from europe to asia to australia ..

on accessing the post even though the HR team felt that an european was better poised to handle the job smoothly( coz he was from a red brick uni in the UK) the job was offered to an Emirati who just manged to scrap a degree from a US university...

after a few months on checking the emirati guys degree verfication process we were shocked to see that his degree was a duplicate and was a from a illegal made up university.......... ( irony : that emirati guys still works for the organistion in a much lesser post )

this above example is a highlight of how the UAE nationals want to push an EMirati in securing a job..

total bias this would have never happend in any other part of the Whole world....

Not true, this was that individuals choice. and that kind of person doesnt represent the Emaratis who had to sit thru Arizona's hot sun for almost 5 years for a piece of paper. I worked my ass off.

That said, same thing happened at my bank, not to me, but it did happen. that employee was terminated.

I'm surprised as to why he is still employed in your organization.

And as PE states, you can get a degree from many places. Hell (and Im not condoning this) my uncle helped a friend of his secure a degree for 100K from a US university for his son. With all the bells and whistles.

However... that guy... even though holds decent post now... knows nothing, and will never progress. Abu Dhabi is still a small place. EVERYONE knows he bought his degree. and like I said, he wont get anywhere.

Many people tell me that I am unlike any emarati they have ever met. And I believe it. my goals were 1/2 set for me by my family, and 1/2 I added because Im a driven person. I dont want to be a manager, I want to be the GM. I want to put what I have learned to good use. I want to give back to the emirate who gave me everything. Some emaratis arent like that. Apathetic, not wanting a career, but a job. Just like any nationality, Emaratis come in all shapes and sizes.

Also, I see a total generalization when it comes to Emaratis. A UAE national is a LARGE term. You may see white robe, 3agal... all the same. This country's citizens are VERY ethnically, economically, and socially diverse.

We have everything from those who never finished Jr. high, to those who have MBA's from universities like Harvard. It depends what kind of Emarati you are used to.

DE went to school with royalty and the rich. So did I, and although I use the term well off, most would call me rich, even without my family. Im sure he would agree that an Emarati comes in all types. Those who are rich because they just are... (The paris hiltons of the UAE) arent our best representatives. Those who came from a long line of people who made the best of themselves, are.

And as he suggested, if you have no inter reaction with the citizens of the country you live in... you wouldnt know this.

Anonymous said...

Blessing in a tragedy
It seems you spend so much time on the blog, for a hard working person!!!!!!

rosh said...

Anon 18:58, I think PE meant anyone can purchase fake certifications from India - not, Indians have fake degrees.

Anons, many of who had provocative comments awaiting moderation, please, if you haven't got something constructive, please don't say anything.

Proud Emirati said...

and he calls himself an HR manager :LOL:

rosh said...

....where did Anon 18:58's comment go?

Anonymous said...

ABIT please be kind enough to implement the KISS principle in whatever you do, I really was interested in what you wrote the first time around, but I really don't have the patience to go through your second post - its just too big.
Thanks again.

A Blessing in Tragedy said...

Anonymous said...
Blessing in a tragedy
It seems you spend so much time on the blog, for a hard working person!!!!!!

Someone just died, and because of the govt's amazingly smart idea to give everyone off, Im sitting on my ass unable to really work since... EVERYONE IS OFF. What do YOu do on the weekend? I already went fishing with my father, saw my fiance, and picked up my new car. As long as these silly days off keep coming I cant do much.

PE - Im sure if it were up to said HR manager, he would have fired the guy. Im sure some other factors interjected. I have come across MANY people (regardless of nationality) who make you wonder how the hell they got their jobs. But in the end, not a line manager, or HR manager can fix some issues. Some things come from the top. Am I right Anon. HR manager? Some thing, even if its for the good of your organization, just arent in your control. A good manager sucks it up and moves on.

KISS? The only kiss I know of is a band.

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