Emiratis are voicing their concerns about private sector companies that have recently intensified their efforts to hire them, primarily to meet the Emiratisation deadline and quota. Some companies have been targeting Emiratis on job platforms like LinkedIn, focusing more on their nationality than their skills and qualifications. Emiratis emphasize that their skills should be the main criterion for hiring.

Maryam Hamad, a freelance artist, is seeking a job in her specialized field: Arts. She has received numerous interview requests for roles that do not align with her skills. She mentioned that some employers called her repeatedly and even offered higher salaries. "It's not about the money; I love arts because it's my hobby, and I hope to find a job that I'm passionate about."

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (Mohre) set June 30 as the deadline for private sector companies to achieve their nationalisation targets for the first half of 2024, aiming to increase the Emirati workforce by one percent. As reported by Khaleej Times, in the weeks leading up to the deadline, job-seekers were flooded with calls from companies to sign job contracts, often for roles that did not match their skills or experience.

Emirati job-seekers noted that the ministry provided ample time for private companies to hire locals. Some even received job contracts without formal interviews. Maryam H., an engineering graduate, was hired by a holding company with multiple subsidiaries. Despite her desire to work for a company that matched her qualifications, she was placed in a subsidiary unrelated to her major. She has now requested a transfer to an engineering company within the corporation.

Hajar Hassan, a media and communication graduate from Zayed University, expressed her appreciation for the Emiratisation program. "I believe the private sector offers numerous opportunities to build a career and develop skills." However, her job search as a fresh graduate was challenging, as many media-related companies required experience. In April, she started receiving offers from companies she hadn't applied to. "Every day, I had between two to three interviews, but none were related to my skills. They were all looking for someone who spoke English." After receiving many similar offers, she accepted the one with the highest salary. Fortunately, before completing the joining formalities, she received an offer that matched her qualifications. "My prayers were answered, and I believe this job is a result of my diligent search for a suitable role and handling the numerous interview calls I received daily."

Another Emirati, Sabta Mubarak, with eight years of experience in data entry, left her previous job due to a health issue. Recently, she received a job offer based on her experience. Despite the low salary, she joined the company, only to find the job was different from what she expected. "They kept moving me every two weeks to different departments. Most of the departments didn't offer anything that matched my experience," Sabta said. She noted that many Emiratis struggle to find suitable jobs due to last-minute hiring by companies to meet their quotas.

Private companies in the country are mandated to increase their Emirati workforce by two percent annually, aiming to reach at least ten percent by 2026. This target is divided into two: one percent in the first half and another one percent in the second. Non-compliance results in fines of thousands of dirhams for each national not hired. Experts have previously emphasized that Emiratisation should be a year-round strategy rather than a last-minute rush to meet requirements.