Employees working in the public sector will be placed in positions in private companies as part of plans to boost Emiratisation.
The so-called Citizen Redistribution Policy between public and private sectors will delegate experienced staff working for the state to work in “leading positions” in the private sector on a rotation basis.
It is hoped the policy will help the government reach its Emiratisation goals, as well as increase self-confidence among UAE nationals by their gaining experience working in the private sector.
It is one of three new initiatives aimed at increasing UAE nationals’ participation in the private sector by the government’s Emiratisation Working Group.
In the UAE, the public sector has historically been seen as a more prestigious and rewarding career path, leaving some to shun opportunities offered in private companies.
But encouraging more Emiratis to enter the private sector is seen as crucial in ensuring there are enough jobs to go around, both now and in the future.
“If we are talking about economic diversification, Emiratis have to go into the private sector because they need to contribute to the economic diversification of their country,” said Rula Dajani, the country director of Amideast’s UAE branch, a non-profit international education company.
Amideast is working with Citi Foundation to roll out the Skills for Success programme, which will place more than 70 Emiratis in private and public sector roles starting early next year.
They are currently in discussions with multinationals in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi about their participation in the programme.
“We are working in alignment with the government’s Emiratisation initiative," said Ms Dajani. "They have outlined the benefits and the impact of having Emiratis work in private companies and I totally agree with them."
Experts say initiatives like the Redistribution Policy could work by highlighting the benefits of a career in the private sector.
But they warned it had to be rolled out correctly to make it attractive. And protecting the employee’s public sector job while on rotation in the private sector role was an important precaution, experts said.
“If I were an Emirati I wouldn’t leave my full-time public sector job to go to a temporary position in the private sector,” said Rola Al Moheid, an associate at HR advisories Willis Towers Watson and Cubiks International.
“Why would I do that? Regardless of the short term gains - even if you are offering me triple. Because at the end of the day I have a family and a life to take care of.”
However, if the assignment was short-term, and the public sector job protected for their return, it could be attractive, she said.
“This would definitely enrich my experience. At the end of the day, the horizon, the number of people who I would be working with, the number of tasks and the variety of activities in the private sector are much more varied."
Other initiatives announced by the government include an e-portal for the self-employed, to connect talented UAE nationals with different programmes and services.
It will coordinate with public and private sector companies to help better leverage self-employed Emiratis’ skills.
In addition, the government will adopt a system to create education programmes to boost the skills of those already working and align their skills with future trends in the job market.
A spokesman from PricewaterhouseCoopers said: "Secondments of public sector employees in private companies like PwC allow individuals to better understand global best business practices.
"They also provide the opportunity to experience a work culture that may be different to those found in the public sector.
"Exposure to a diverse talent pool - to people from different backgrounds, countries or skill sets - also make secondments invaluable."