How Emiratisation Boosts The Private Sector?

An in-depth exploration of the UAE's dynamic Emiratisation program.

Anam Javed
Reviewed by:
Faye Ameen
July 9, 2024
0 min read time
Anam Javed
Marketing Operations Manager

The implementation of the Emiratisation policy has been on the rise in the UAE for the past decade. Emiratisation is a significant initiative that impacts the private sector in the UAE in several ways and has been crucial in the nation's overall socio-economic development.

Introduction to the Importance of Emiratisation

The nation is rich in oil and gas, which was the core reason for the economic boost in the region. However, with a financial boost, the UAE was able to attract expatriates from across the world, bringing them business opportunities and building an extensive private sector. Expatriates began to dominate the private sector, and in 2004, 80% of the private sector workforce comprised expatriates. By 2009, this percentage spiked to 99.57%, meaning that only 13,000 of the 3 million private sector employees were Emiratis. The public sector employed the remaining Emirati professionals. 

The UAE government wanted to ensure that the Emirati population is not isolated from the private sector and that private companies should not depend solely on foreign talent. Therefore, The government initiated and enforced the Emiratisation policy to ensure the inclusion of the local population in business and economy matters. The UAE government recognizes the importance of incorporating Emirati talent into the wider private sector. They have introduced numerous initiatives, one of the latest being NAFIS, designed to bridge the gap in requirements, needs, and expectations between Emirati professionals and private sector enterprises. In Abu Dhabi, a collaborative effort between the private sector and the government has created and implemented national employability programs. These programs aim to equip Emirati nationals with the skills to establish rewarding careers.

How  Has Emiratisation Strengthened UAE?

Emiratisation is crucial in developing more vital Emirati professionals who make promising contributions to the country‚Äôs overall development. Khalid Farooq, Partner in Risk and Forensic Advisory Services at BDO UAE, one of the world's largest auditing and accounting firms, emphasizes the significance of embracing the Emiratisation initiative as he says, ‚ÄúThis is not only essential to avoid penalties for non-compliance but also because it can bring about a positive transformation for companies seeking engagement with government entities or aspiring to collaborate with family businesses.‚Ä̬†

There are various other ways in which Emiratisation has uplifted the nation’s cultural and social sovereignty and has maximized its global recognition. Some of the many ways in which Emiratisation has done so are discussed below;

1. Cultural Preservation

Emiratisation has helped in the preservation of UAE’s own unique culture and heritage as Emiratis actively indulge in the private sector, upholding their cultural practices within expatriate-dominant workplaces. This maximizes the acceptance of the local culture, food, costume, etc. Emiratisation ensures that the local culture is not lost with the massive expatriate influx but also lets the foreigner enjoy the UAE experience, even in business. 

2. Language Preservation

A dense expatriate population has made English the widely spoken language in the country. However, other foreign languages such as Hindi, Urdu, and Filipino were also commonly spoken, depending on which expatriate ethnicity dominated a particular industry. However, with Emiratisation, as a significant Emirati population in the workforce, the Arabic language was reintroduced in the private sector, eliminating the dominance of other foreign languages and, once again, preserving the language as a vital component of the country’s culture. 

3. Self-reliance

Emiratisation also helped build Emiratis as more vital professionals, encouraging them to believe in their talent, skill, and knowledge. This helped the Emirati population think that they could rely on their expertise for any role and eroded the crippling dependency on foreign talent for any particular role or industry. 

4. Human Capital Development

Emiratisation initiatives include training and skill development programs for Emiratis that ensure that Emiratis are equipped with the skills necessary for the job market and invest in the long-term human capital development of the nation. This also boosts Emiratis as competent professionals who can be recognized globally. 

5. Empowering Future Generations

The training and development, employment programs, and hiring quotas imposed on the private sector create multiple avenues of professional growth and skill development for the younger generation. This means the Emirati generation will emerge as more robust and significantly contribute to the nation's overall development. 

6. Political Security 

A well-employed and economically active citizen is generally more politically stable. Emiratisation can contribute to political stability by ensuring the local population feels looked after and valued. Moreover, ethnic monopolies in the private sector can threaten the country’s economic and political security; hence, Emiratis employed in the private sector will solve this, too.  

7. National Pride

Finally, Emiratisation empowers Emiratis to become more impactful professionals and citizens too. They have more authority within their own country and are also recognized by big private entities and global corporations for their significant contributions. This fosters a sense of pride amongst Emiratis and the government as well. 

8. Economic Stability

A diverse and inclusive workforce that includes Emirati nationals contributes to the country's long-term economic stability. The government has mitigated various potential social and economic challenges by addressing unemployment among Emiratis and providing them with meaningful employment opportunities. Moreover, Emirati nationals can leverage these opportunities to build and maintain an economy that is not solely dependent on oil and gas.

9. Social Cohesion

Emiratisation fosters social cohesion by promoting inclusivity and equal opportunities for Emirati citizens. It reduces the feeling of ‚ÄúEmirati isolation‚ÄĚ and enhances the overall social harmony within the country.

Also Read: Learn what Emiratisation is all about!

How Emiratisation Boosts The Private Sector in the UAE?

Emiratisation has not only helped Emiratis strengthen their social standing in the country but has also had various benefits for companies in the private sector. Emiratisation aims to create a win-win situation for both private employers and employees. Emiratisation is a policy that was essentially planned out to favor Emiratis, but it does not hinder the growth and development of the private sector. Some of Emiratisation’s many benefits to the private sector include:

1. Access to Local Talent

Emiratisation provides private-sector companies with access to a pool of skilled Emirati talent. This has been particularly beneficial for roles that require knowledge of the local culture, language, and market dynamics.

2. Government Contracts and Partnerships

Emiratisation is often a prerequisite for private sector companies that wish to engage in contracts and partnerships with government entities. By hiring Emirati nationals, companies can enhance their eligibility for government projects, which can be financially lucrative and boost business growth. 

3. Cultural and Market Understanding

Emirati employees bring a deep understanding of the local culture and market, which can be invaluable for companies operating in the UAE. This knowledge can help businesses tailor their products, services, and marketing strategies better to suit the needs and preferences of the local population.

4. Enhanced Reputation

Companies actively participating in Emiratisation initiatives often enjoy a positive reputation in the UAE. This reputation can attract more customers, investors, and partners who appreciate and support a commitment to employing and developing local talent.

5. Compliance with Emiratisation Regulations

Non-compliance to the Emiratisation policies and quotas enforced by the government can result in fines and penalties. By adhering to these regulations and actively hiring Emirati nationals, private-sector companies can avoid legal issues and fines and continue business operations without any hindrance. 

6. Government Support

The UAE government provides support and incentives to companies that actively comply with the rules of Emiratisation. This can include financial incentives, training programs, and access to resources that can help companies prosper as they continue to meet their Emiratisation goals.

7. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Emiratisation aligns with corporate social responsibility goals, demonstrating a company's commitment to contributing positively to the local community and economy.

Emiratisation has helped the private sector in the UAE by providing access to local talent, improving compliance with regulations, enhancing cultural understanding, and fostering a positive reputation. It benefits individual businesses and contributes to the country's overall private sector development. Employers in the private sector can also leverage Emiratisation to enjoy the benefits that come with it. Iris by Qureos helps employers and hiring managers in finding the right Emirati talent for their business. 

Also Read: How to Create Work-Friendly Culture In UAE


In conclusion, the importance of Emiratisation has a profound impact on various aspects of Emirati society and its private sector. The initiative was born out of a need to ensure that Emiratis are connected to the rapidly growing private sector and to reduce dependence on foreign talent. 

It aligns with the UAE's broader goals of preserving identity, fostering economic growth, and reducing unemployment. Emiratisation has become a cornerstone of the United Arab Emirates' economic and social development. Over the past decade, this initiative has become a powerful tool for building a stronger nation and fostering collaboration between Emiratis and private sectors.

Emiratisation has become a win-win situation for Emiratis and private sector companies. It empowers Emiratis to play a more significant role in their nation's social and economic development while providing the private sector access to a diverse, skilled workforce. As the UAE continues to grow and diversify its economy, Emiratisation will remain a vital strategy for fostering prosperity, preserving culture, and building a stronger nation.

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