Female employees a driving force in re-hauling Emiratization

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region, has recently declared that Emiratisation remains to be the top national priority.

During a recent meeting with Abu Dhabi Tawteen council, he added, "Emiratisation is a national objective and all public, quasi-government and private establishments should spot-light on challenges facing its progress on the long and short term and recommend effective policies and solutions so as to enable it contribute to national economy."

Statistics indicate that in the U.A.E, out of 3.9 million workers, a number representing 47%, only 15% of the workforce constitute of Emiratis, rest being of foreign nationalities. Given the numbers and the nationwide unemployment rate among Emiratis, the government has taken up the policy of "Emiratisation" to ensure more national workforce representation in the public and private sectors.

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan also noted that womens' unemployment accounted to 68% of the total unemployed people. Given the statistics and the fact that more than 50% of university graduates consist of females, reaching nationalisation targets would mean highlighting female unemployment and incorporating the female workforce in the Emiratisation strategies.

However, acknowledging the fact that the female workforce has the potential of being the key driver of Emiratisation targets is not enough. It seems that the nationwide HR policies are not suitable for accommodating women in the public and private sector.

In her recent interview to Gulf News, Aisha Al Suwaidi, Acting CEO of Human Resources Policies Sector of the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources (FAHR), pointed out, "It isn't difficult to promote women empowerment because women have proved that they are capable and are willing to work. In this regard, we face policy issues that need to be rectified. Working women want more options to be able to juggle their working and personal life."

This is especially true in the oil and gas sector, due to its technical nature. With growing generation gap and promising potential of local female skill pool, the national oil and gas companies growingly acknowledge the need to minimise the gender gap inherent in the industry. The technical nature of the jobs and male-centered HR strategies make it challenging for the oil and gas companies to attract, train, retain and empower women in the technical and engineering fields of the sector.

The challenges have further been fuelled by women's social image and the leading oil and gas companies have decided to come together at the Leaders of the Future Summit: Bridging the Gender Gap in Oil and Gas, to discuss the role of women in reaching Emiratisation targets and to identify persisting challenges for the female employees on their career paths, rethinking the HR strategies and discovering the best ways of incorporating more women into their organisations.

Endorsed by Petroleum Institute and IEEE WIE Saudi Section and supported by the senior management of ADNOC, the Leaders of the Future Summit: Bridging the Gender Gap in Oil and Gas will take place in Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort and Spa Hotel on 1-3 April 2012 to deliver insights by leading oil and gas companies such as ADNOC, ENOC, ADCO, ADMA-OPCO, Schlumberger, Saudi Aramco, Kuwait Energy Company, Shell, Maersk and Halliburton to mention a few.

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