Around 60 per cent of Emiratis working in the private sector report higher levels of engagement compared to 34 per cent working in the public sector, according to an Aon Hewitt study.
Despite the significant benefits of public sector employment, the report shows that the UAE’s private sector has made headway in tapping into the national talent.
The study included participants from 100 public and private sector companies across the UAE.
Traditionally, the public sector has been more attractive for its job security, status and regulated working hours for Emiratis, but the report notes a changing trend.
Around 30 per cent of Emiratis working in the public sector are at a high risk of attrition as compared to 14 per cent of their counterparts in the private sector.
But the study did not find any significant overall work-life balance between Emiratis working in the private or public sectors.
“The findings demonstrate a change in attitudes among nationals towards working in the private sector,” said Dr. Markus Wiesner, chief executive officer at Aon Hewitt Middle East.
“This is good news as a whole for the UAE economy as it continues to diversify and look towards its local talent pool for sustainable skills and future business leaders.”
Moreover, Emiratis working in the private sector reported higher satisfaction levels in terms of learning and development opportunities, confidence in leadership and recognition within their organisation.
The report said that despite the private sector’s progress in engaging with Emirati talent, firms still have to continue their efforts with local workforce.
“Just under 42 per cent of Emiratis feel engaged in the workplace compared to their Qatari neighbours who registered 51 per cent engagement levels,” said Wiesner.
“Both the corporate and political will exist to make nationalisation a reality but the business community is lacking the tools to make it happen.”
Aon Hewitt also predicted a shift in employment trends in the UAE.
“Transitioning from an economy fed by natural resources to one driven by human capital continues to be the real test for national leaders, policy makers and organizational decision makers,” said Wiesner.
While overall employee engagement in the GCC has decreased from 54 per cent in 2010 to 49.5 per cent in two years, engagement levels for expats working in the region have remained consistent at 57 per cent in 2010 and 56 per cent in 2012.