A continued focus on managerial roles and fear of appraisals are some of the contributing factors behind the current 14 per cent unemployment rate among Emiratis, a senior corporate executive said in the capital on Tuesday.
The unemployment rate  is also exacerbated by Emiratis’ lack of interest in private sector positions, said Dr Othman Khoury, vice-president of human resources and administration in Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC).
“Among 900,000 Emiratis in the UAE, only about 0.5 per cent is employed within the private sector,” Khoury said.
“The private sector generates around 6,000 job opportunities annually. Significant efforts have been made by the public sector to promote Emiratisation within the UAE; however, this focus is not yet fully present in the private sector,” he added.
Khoury was speaking at the second Emiratisation Summit, which was conducted alongside the seventh Tawdheef Recruitment Show in Abu Dhabi.
The ADAC official urged for an encouraging work environment and motivation for Emiratis in order to integrate them into the private sector in the UAE.
“The private sector should create a mutually beneficial partnership and bridge the gap with Emiratis, who have to implement what they have learnt and focus on building greater knowledge and skills,” Khoury told Gulf News.
“There are no shortcuts from school to work. There are no fast food solutions in career development. Most Emiratis focus on fear of appraisals, managerial roles, salaries and acceptance in the work place and they be patient,” he added.
Sulaf Al Zu’ubi, chief executive officer of training and mentorship company Injaz who also spoke at the summit, addressed several challenges and some deep-routed concerns about working in the private sector.
“Many Emirati jobseekers are dissuaded because employers believe that they only focus on salaries and comfortable working hours. Emirati jobseekers want to overcome these cultural stereotypes,” Al Zu’ubi said.
A live voting session  conducted at the summit also revealed that private sector challenges in retaining Emiratis include demanding work environments and low salaries. On the other hand, company executive said that growth and promotion opportunities were major contributing factors in attracting Emirati applicants to private sector positions.
By Sara Sabry and Samihah Zaman