The UAE aims to increase the current number of UAE nationals working in the private sector by tenfold by the year 2021. As per the Vision 2021 document, the UAE strives to shift towards a knowledge-based economy pioneered by UAE nationals with a skill set revolving around knowledge and creativity. This new direction will require the transition of UAE nationals from employment in the public sector to seeking opportunities in the private sector. This in turn will also contribute to enhancing productivity in the public sector itself.
The UAE has given great importance to the subject of Emiratization, having announced that 2013 will be the year of Emiratization, along with launching the “Absher” initiative under the patronage of His Highness the President of the UAE. Absher is based on four main themes, namely the creation of job opportunities for nationals, vocational guidance and counseling, training and development, and the encouragement of nationals to work in the private sector. The aim of this initiative is to provide approximately 20,000 jobs for citizens in the coming period.
The Absher initiative compliments a number of previous initiatives launched by the federal and local governments in the UAE to promote Emiratization, such as the creation of several entities including Tanmia, the National Human Resources Employment Authority, Abu Dhabi Tawteen Council, and the Emirates Nationals Development Program. In addition, other initiatives have been put in place to encourage entrepreneurship among young UAE nationals to further strengthen their participation in leading the national economy. Small and Medium size Enterprise development has been encouraged through improvements in the business environment, the development of a federal law for small and medium-sized enterprises, and the increased access to finance from sources such as Khalifa Fund and the Mohammed bin Rashid Establishment for Young Business Leaders.