Talented Emirati employees have become top targets for recruiters, as the pace of Emiratisation increases.

It’s causing a major retention challenge for organisations with a quota of local employees to meet, but who find their staff being poached by competitors.

These are among the findings of the Knowledge Group’s employment survey, presented by Dr Rabei Wazzeh at the Eighth Annual Emiratisation Forum in Abu Dhabi.

Dr Wazzeh said that almost half of the employers he surveyed find their Emirati employees typically quit within three years. And nearly one-fifth (17.3 per cent) said their Emirati employees quit within a year.

"It has always been the problem that UAE nationals, once they start a job, become a very hot target for other companies," Dr Wazzeh told The National. "So once you find an Emirati in a job then all other companies are targeting him to attract him. They move jobs very quickly."

At the start of the year, the UAE’s Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) issued a new decree stating that certain sectors must employ Emiratis in particular roles. However, keeping hold of Emirati staff is proving difficult, as a talented local employee comes with the added benefit for organisations of helping them meet Emiratisation targets.

Moath Hussein, chief support services officer for Al Fahim Group, told The National that retention was not so difficult for government jobs.

"One of the biggest challenges is retention – not in the big government corporations but in the private sector,” he said. "You get a person and you train them, and in six months or a year’s time, they have a lot of skills and capabilities that many fresh graduates don’t have. So they get picked up and they are offered huge salaries in the government sector.”

The Mohammad Bin Rashid School of Government (MBRSG) in Dubai recently hosted an Emirates Youth Council event to encourage more young Emiratis to join the private sector. The event highlighted the important contribution of private enterprises to the success of the UAE economy, as well as their potential for employing young Emiratis.

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