Mashreq well ahead on Emiratisation plan

Mashreq, the bank controlled by billionaire Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, says that it is ahead of schedule on a plan to employ 500 Emiratis.

As part of the Absher initiative launched by Sheikh Khalifa, the President, the bank last year agreed to hire the 500 Emiratis over a five-year period.

Twelve months later, Mashreq says it is already two thirds of the way towards its target.

Absher – Arabic for “I’ve got good news” – is part of the Vision 2021 plan to diversify the economy from hydrocarbons and to create jobs for nationals.

“Gone are the days where reaching a certain percentage in Emiratisation is good enough,” said Mr Al Ghurair. “Organisations must come forward with critical jobs for Emiratis. We want to see UAE nationals taking up leadership positions in the banking industry across businesses such as corporate, risk, finance, auditing, etc.”

As well as hiring more Emiratis, Mashreq is also training UAE national staff.

The bank said it has trained 364 so far this year.

Based in Dubai, Mashreq has 44 branches across the country.

Overall, UAE national staff at banks last year was about 11,700, or 32 per cent of the industry’s total workforce, after reaching a peak of 12,500 in 2012, said Mr Al Ghurair.

UAE banks, many of which are controlled by the government, have in recent years been making a bigger push to hire more Emiratis.

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank said in its last earnings release that the number of Emiratis working at the bank made up 40 per cent of its workforce at the end of last year.

Meanwhile, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, the Emirate’s largest lender by market value, said that it planned to employ 100 Emiratis this year as part of its drive to attract and develop the skills of Emiratis.

Still, Mr Al Ghurair, who is chairman of the UAE Banks’ Federation, said that there is a notable lack of locals at the highest levels of management.