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Resourcing and Talent Planning in UAE: Labour Laws and the Available Strategies Report (Assessment)

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Updated: Jul 9th, 2021

Question 1: Different Labour Market Conditions in the UAE and the U.S.

The environment of a labour market might seem as convoluted and complex at first, yet, after scrutinising the phenomenon from different perspectives, one will realise that the rules by which the specified setting is guided are rather basic. Although the taxonomies used to distinguish between different types of market are numerous, the one that splits the existing markets into tight and loose is of particular interest due to the difference in the conditions under which companies in each market operate. By definition, tight labour markets are characterised by high levels of employment and the resulting drop in the real wage rates (Gillespie and Riddle 149). Respectively, when the levels of employment are low, the real wage rates increase, which makes the labour market loose.

In regard to the UAE labour market, the propensity to tightening can be viewed as the most appropriate description since the specified environment has been displaying the propensity toward saturation recently (Sadaqat). Indeed, a look at the UAE labour market conditions will show that the unemployment rates within the specified setting have been declining over the past few years, whereas the real wage levels remain inconsistent, with a drop in 2018 and an expected increase in 2019 (“Real Salaries in the UAE Set to Drop in 2018”; Sadaqat). The observed situation can be deemed as unique since the UAE market currently fluctuates between “tight” and “loose,” while slightly gearing toward the former.

In regard to other conditions in the UAE market, the youth employment levels are moderate, with most companies preferring to select experienced candidates. Another distinct characteristic of the UAE labour market is that it is geared significantly toward seeking employment in the public sector (UAE Government). Furthermore, the UAE labour market setting displays the propensity toward low participation rates among the members of its labour force, which can also be attributed to tighter markets and more rigid market conditions.

Comparing the described setting to the U.S. labour market, one will find significant differences between the two and appreciate the unique situation within the UAE setting. In contrast to the UAE labour market environment, the American market is obviously tightening, with inflation rates rising and the real wage rates plummeting (“United States Employment Rate”). For instance, there is strong evidence that the American market has been overly saturated with workforce, with the levels of employment increasing exponentially (“United States Employment Rate”).

According to the recent statistical data, while there have been minor predicaments with employment opportunities, the overall tendency in the American labour market can be deemed as highly positive, with the recent rise from 60% to 60.7% (see Figure 1) (“United States Employment Rate”). The described phenomenon is slightly different from the one observed in the UAE, where the rise in employment levels is consistent and uninterrupted. Moreover, the propensity toward tightness is much more pronounced in the American labour market setting since the wage rates have been less consistent.

U.S. Employment Rates (2014-2018)
Figure 1. U.S. Employment Rates (2014-2018) (“United States Employment Rate”).

Therefore, there are certain differences in the labour markets of the UAE and the U.S. While both display the propensity toward tightness, the trend within the UAE labour market is much more consistent toward tightness that in the American one. Furthermore, in the U.S. labour market environment, private organisations enjoy significantly higher popularity than state-owned ones, which represents a directly opposite situation to the one in the UAE (“United States Employment Rate”).

The participation rates, in turn, are much higher than in the UAE environment, although the U.S. labour market also displays the tendency toward a decline in the levels of activism among employees. Thus, overall, the labour market situation in the UAE is quite different from the one in the U.S., which can be explained by differences in legal requirements, traditions, and economic specifics.

Question 2: The Role of the Government, Employers and Trade Unions

In the UAE labour market environment, organisations tend to position themselves as global and strive at emphasising their positive characteristics, such as the high quality of products and services, the focus on traditional corporate values, and the support of employees by providing them with numerous benefits and opportunities (Nuseir 4). Since the public sector is the key area of the labour forces’ focus, the government plays a huge role in the UAE labour market environment. Specifically, the government ensures that people are provided with the skill set and level that will be appropriate for the labour market (Nuseir 5).

The described detail is particularly important in the setting of the 21st century, when technological innovations disrupt the traditional course of the market development and require applicants to display a wide range of skills and abilities.

Specifically, the UAE government has recently introduced the National Smart Government plan to enhance the process of youth education and to encourage young people to develop the abilities and skills that will be highly valued in the labour force market in the future (Telecommunications Regulatory Authority 3). The plan claims to provide guidance to employees and assist them in acquiring the skills needed for using innovative communication technologies (ICT) productively (Telecommunications Regulatory Authority 4). Therefore, it could be argued that the role of the UAE state authorities in enhancing employee education and supporting them in training is rather important.

In addition, the UAE government has created the laws and regulations such as the Human Resources Law that entitles the UAE labour force to a set of specific rights and offers guidelines for managers. These guidelines are used in order to introduce the principles of the global leadership into the public and private corporate setting (Federal Authority for Government Human Resources). Employers, in turn, also take an active part in staff’s learning process, making various endeavours at spurring it. For instance, public organisations provide their staff members full access to courses for increasing their competence levels and offer opportunities for professional development.

Since being a law-abiding citizen is not merely a civic duty but also a part of the UAE national identity, the UAE employers strive to meet the needs of their staff members as required by law. Therefore, the role of employers in the management of employment-related issues is quite high. However, it would be a misconception to assume that employers are left unprotected by the law. On the contrary, the UAE legal standards promote equality in the treatment of both employers and employees, which is reflected in the regulations such as Federal Law No. 10 of 2017 (Sebugwaawo). Thus, both sides strive to maximise each other’s benefit.

Finally, trade unions that are supposed to play an important role in protecting the rights of the labour force by creating the platform for collective bargaining are non-existent in the UAE. According to the UAE Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 and the recent amendments to it, trade unions are not allowed in the UAE economic environment (Sebugwaawo). The specified measure has been introduced to address the scenarios in which employees abuse their rights and affect the performance of the organisations in which they work (Sebugwaawo). While the proposed approach was designed primarily to prevent migrant workers from disturbing the UAE economic environment, it has also affected the UAE labour force, in general, making it extraordinarily vulnerable to the choices that employers make.

Therefore, while the current situation with the protection of employees’ and employers’ rights seems to be adequate in the UAE, further changes may be required to ensure that employees are not inherently dependent on the goodwill of the people who hire them. Although in the context of the contemporary UAE labour market, the specified issue is addressed by setting rigid boundaries for companies in terms of employee management, the current situation could use certain improvements involving a permission for trade unions at least for private companies.

Each method of recruitment and selection has its strengths and weaknesses. For instance, the analysis of competencies can provide a rather accurate analysis of a candidate’s abilities and skills, yet it also makes one overlook unique qualities of candidates that make them more suitable for the job. Screening is another tool for detecting the candidates that do not fit the profile completely. However, screening also takes a substantial amount of time.

Shortlisting is a slightly less time-consuming strategy, yet it requires spending a lot of money. Interviews and, specifically, home interviews, give a clear idea of an employees’ qualities and competencies, yet they take a lot of time. Finally, work-sample tests give a general idea of how a candidate will make decisions in the workplace. However, these tests also fail to assess every possible scenario, thus offering not quite reliable results (Gillespie and Riddle 159).

Question 3: Principles of Effective Workforce Planning. Description and Examples

Effective workforce planning is an inherent part of any firm’s functioning since it allows managing the existing resources successfully and creates opportunities for organisations to maximise their profits. Several principles for workforce planning have been designed so far to assist companies in encouraging the development of skills in their employees and enhancing the performance of their workforce.

These principles mainly concern developing an understanding of the workforce needs, meeting these needs respectively, and introducing tools for controlling employees’ performance (Gillespie and Riddle 114). By using a combination of strategies for investing in staff members and enhancing their productivity, an organisation can benefit significantly from workforce planning tool.

A typical framework of effective workforce planning includes five key constituents. These are locating of the direction for a company’s development and the needs of its staff, building strong knowledge about employee and their needs, bridging the gap between staff members and an organisation by managing these needs, implementing the proposed change framework, and observing alterations with the following assessment of the results and institutionalisation of change (Gillespie and Riddle 117).

The described approaches are designed to assist companies in building trust-based relationships with their employees by meeting their requirements and assisting them in their professional growth. Thus, the proposed strategies are expected to increase the levels of loyalty and CSR among employees and convince them to reciprocate the company’s positive attitude by developing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), maintaining workplace integrity, following corporate ethics, and meeting organisational standards in regard to quality.

The first requirement of the effective workforce planning, which implies aligning the course for the company’s progress with the needs of its employees, is crucial to the effective management of workforce resources. By using the specified strategy, one invests in the positive relationships with staff members, thus ensuring that they will remain loyal to the company. For example, CEMEX UAE manifests that it is willing to encourage the professional and personal growth of its staff members by encouraging them to build a proper skill set and acquire new skills consistently (“Employee Development”). According to the information provided by the organisation,

This strategy is reinforced by our CEMEX Training & Development policies, which have been developed to establish the criteria and general guidelines for in-house and external training of all of our employees. This includes identification of training needs; budgeting; arranging training and development activities; delivery and evaluation of training and maintaining training records. (“Employee Development” par. 5)

The described approach toward promoting professional development of staff can be deemed as healthy and reasonable given the need to meet the increasingly high demand for quality and technological prowess. Due to the necessity to integrate technological innovations and ICT tools into the workplace setting, UAE companies have to ensure that their staff members have the competences required for using the proposed communication and quality management tools.

The second one is also directly linked to keeping employees satisfied and suggests that organisations should learn more about their employees and the specifics of their culture to meet their standards. In the UAE context, the described approach has been used profusely in public and private companies. The Omnicom Media Group can be considered a prime example of using strategies for employee satisfaction correctly since Omnicom Media Group emphasises the importance of meeting diverse staff members’ needs (Mahmud).

Similarly, the issue of bridging the gap between employees and organisations is managed within modern UAE companies quite well. Due to the presence of legal principles that allow meeting the needs of both employees and employers, the UAE economic setting is safe for both. Taking EMC2 as an example, one will realise that the principles of equality are intricately intertwined with the idea of subordination in the UAE environment, thus making communication within the corporate hierarchy very effective (Dadlani et al.). As a result, the needs of staff members are accepted and satisfied accordingly.

Controlling change is another important stage of workforce planning. Unless alterations to the corporate HR strategy are institutionalised and established as corporate guidelines, positive changes are highly unlikely. In the UAE labour market context, the DHL company displays the model strategy for the rest of companies to follow. Specifically, the DHL has managed to create the environment where staff members are encouraged to accept alterations to the company’s policies as a part of the corporate philosophy (Thomas). As a result, new guidelines are followed precisely and accurately, which leads to a steep rise in quality.

Question 4: The Role of HR in the UAE Business Setting

Basic Succession and Career Development Plans

An HR is expected to take the active part in the development of basic succession plans for staff members. As a rule, a basic succession plan is aimed at expanding the pool of successors within an organisation (Qureshi et al. 22). A succession plan helps to reorganise the positions that employees and managers take within a company and arrange them in the way that will minimise the consumption of corporate resources.

In the described process, the role of an HR cannot possibly be underrated since an HR manager gathers the necessary information, analyses it, and creates the arrangements needed for altering the existing succession pools (Qureshi et al. 24). For example, in the context of a UAE oil company, several managerial positions that imply dealing with procurement of raw materials and managers analysing the relevant data can be gathered in a single team to maximise their efficiency.

In addition, an HR also plays an important role in the career development of staff members. At first glance, career building is a rather personal concept, and it is an employee who should manage it entirely. However, scrutinising the issue, one will have to admit that a range of employees, and especially the ones that lack experience, are prone to making errors in their career decisions and choices. Therefore, it is the role of an HR to offer professional assistance. An HR needs to help an employee to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the latter and chart a professional development plan that will gradually lead an employee to improved performance (Qureshi et al. 27). Therefore, an HR plays a crucial role in the process of creating basic succession plans and assisting staff members in career development.

Contributing to Plans for Downsizing an Organisation

Due to the challenges that organisations face in the UAE market, including stiff competition and the demand for high quality, a range of companies often realise that their current large size is not sustainable.

Therefore, the process of downsizing is launched, causing a company to reduce its expenses and address the issues of resource management. However, the process of downsizing a company implies revisiting the current structure and make changes to the organisational setting, such as the distribution of roles and responsibilities among staff members. At this point, the importance of an HR expert becomes evident since an HR manager ensures that the remaining staff members are capable of managing tasks and completing projects successfully (Qureshi et al. 28). For instance, an HR manager will need to gather the information about each staff member and every process within the company.

Afterward, the job positions, roles and responsibilities will be rearranged, and training will have to be launched for the remaining staff members. An HR should design the training sessions and ensure that the participants are provided with the available data and the time needed to learn new skills. Moreover, apart from education and effective leadership, an HR also has to utilise a wide range of tools for controlling the change until it is cemented in the corporate setting. In the UAE context, one may consider placing a high value on traditions and foster the acceptance of corporate values within a firm. Thus, high levels of compliance among staff members can be expected. Maintaining equity and fairness is also a critical role of an HR manager during the downsizing process.

Design of Job Descriptions, Person Specifications and Competency Frameworks

Due to the necessity to search for new talents that will help an organisation advance in the global economy and produce the results of the finest quality. Selecting the right person among a vast number of applicants is a challenging task, which is why providing accurate and concise job descriptions is critical. By inviting an HR to write job descriptions will help to communicate the key requirements effectively and make the description appealing. As a result, competent applicants that are seeking the opportunity to acquire new skills will most likely apply for the job.

In a similar way, person specifications should be created in tandem with an HR, who is fully aware of the key characteristics and personality that an applicant should have to meet job requirements. With the help of an HR, one will be able to distinguish between the crucial characteristics and the desirable ones, thus making the job description realistic and at the same time setting the bar for quality high.

It is also critical for an HR to be able to manage dismissals, retirements, and redundancies. To address the case of a dismissal, an HR has to approach the issue as tactfully as possible, ensuring that the problem is handled with fairness, and that all legal standards are met.

Specifically, an employee has to be provided with an explanation during the initial meeting and an opportunity to appeal. Managing retirement is another responsibility that an HR has to take in a corporate environment. An HR has to assist employees in their preparation for retirement. The issue of redundancy is the third most complicated concern that an HR faces in the corporate setting. Avoiding personalizing redundancy is the first step that an HR manager has to make to handle the concern and acknowledge the dignity of employee by treating them with respect.

Finally, the role of an HR in the development of a competency framework needs to be addressed. By definition, a competency framework is a set of guidelines for an employee to participate in the active professional development and acquire new skills for managing customers’ needs (Qureshi et al. 29). Since a professional HR is fully aware of the requirements for each job, their involvement in the design of a competency framework for each staff member is critical. An experienced HR will provide a detailed description of the levels of excellence that each employee meets and the roles that they play in a company.

Question 5: Legal Requirements: Selection and Recruiting

UAE: Legal Requirements for Recruitment

In order to be accepted for a job in the UAE, one will need to meet several important criteria. Health screening is one of the elements of applying for a job position in the specified setting. In addition, having a certification that proves one’s eligibility for occupying the applied position is a crucial part of getting ready for recruitment (Sebugwaawo). Although training sessions and opportunities for increasing competencies are often provided in the UAE organisational setting, the evidence of having been certified as a professional is critical to the successful employment (Sebugwaawo).

By asking for the specified documents, UAE organisations ensure that the rights of an employee are fully protected. For immigrant workers willing to be employed in a UAE organisation, the requirements are a bit different. Immigrant workers will be treated based on the standards described in the Labour Law (Sebugwaawo). The specified measure allows both parties to comply with the contract and create the environment for a positive experience.

Employee Turnover: Factors and Costs

Despite the willingness to invest in the professional development of their employees, a range of companies have to face the threat of an increase in turnover rates. The described situation implies that, for the most part, newly employed members of an organisation are unwilling to stay and resign very quickly (Gillespie and Riddle 76). An increase in turnover rates may signal about a problematic change within a company and point to the necessity to handle the situation. Poor workplace conditions combined with salaries are some of the most frequently occurring causes of high turnover rates in a firm (Gillespie and Riddle 81).

In addition, the lack of opportunities for professional growth, conflicts in the workplace, and other issues that make employees uncomfortable, leading to a drop in their motivation levels, often turn out to be the leading causes of a rise in turnover rates (Gillespie and Riddle 83).

High employee turnover may make a company incur large expenses, thus making the setting in which it operates rather strenuous. Costs typically rise with the increase in turnover rates, making an organisation to reshape its financial strategy and even resort to its business exit plan unless appropriate measures are taken by its leaders and the HR department. Thus, preventing a rise in employee turnover by creating a comfortable environment for staff members and offering them numerous benefits should be deemed as important.

Approaches to Retaining Talents: Strengths and Weaknesses

Reducing high turnover rates is possible as long as a reasonable approach toward meeting employees’ needs is provided. For example, an HR manager may consider setting more realistic expectations for staff members in a company. Another approach would be removing stress factors form the workplace environment. The described strategies have both pros and cons. On the one hand, the first approach will delineate the key requirements and help staff members to understand their role and function in a company, thus increasing their productivity. On the other hand, it will set a bar for the quality of employees’ performance and the extent of their skills, preventing them from learning.

The second approach, in turn, reduces the risks associated with employees’ mental well-being, which is an important change. In addition, it creates the setting where one can focus on work. However, it may also remove the challenge from the staff’s performance and make their motivation levels drop.

Question 6: Managing Dismissal, Retirement and Redundancies: Recommendations

Dismissing an employee is often an excruciatingly difficult decision to make. However, when an HR manager has to make a decision, it is important to manage the dismissal, retirement, or redundancy properly. For this purpose, one will need to consider being empathetic and offer respect. Thus, the process will become less difficult, and the threat of making an employee feel useless or incompetent will be reduced.

Personal Development Plan: Updated

Personal Development Plan.
Figure 2. Personal Development Plan: Updated.

Key Learning Summary

The experience of studying HR strategies and standards has shown that the specified job is often underrated. While sometimes being taken for granted, an HR has to be fully aware of the roles and responsibilities of each staff member and manage the talent pool of an organisation successfully. Therefore, the key lessons learned from this experience include a more thorough understanding of an HR’s function, information about managing complex HR issues, and opportunities for increasing one’s skills as an HR. Thus, one will be able to foster the propensity toward personal and professional development among employees.

Works Cited

Dadlani, Disha, et al. “Khaleej Times. 2017. Web.

CEMEX, n.d. Web.

Federal Authority for Government Human Resources. “Federal Authority for Government Human Resources AE. 2018. Web.

Gillespie, Kate, and Liesl Riddle. Global Marketing. 4th ed., Routledge, 2015.

Mahmud, Zeba. “ArabianMarketer.ae. 2017. Web.

Nuseir, Mohammed T. “Digital Media Impact on SMEs Performance in the UAE.” Academy of Entrepreneurship Journal, vol. 24, no. 2, 2018, pp. 1-13.

Qureshi, Tahir Masood, et al. “Investing in Success: Role of HRM Strategies on Performance Sustainability in the UAE Banking Industry.” World, vol. 9, no. 1 2018, pp. 21-32.

Arabian Business. 2018. Web.

Sadaqat, Rohma. “Khaleej Times. 2018. Web.

Sebugwaawo, Ismail. “UAE Labour Laws Protect Workers, Employers Equally.” Khaleej Times. 2018. Web.

Telecommunications Regulatory Authority. The National Plan for UAE Smart Government Goals. 2015, 2015. Web.

Thomas, Stuart. “7 HR Heads Who Make the UAE’s Best Companies Great to Work For.” EngageMeOnline.com, 2018. Web.

UAE Government. “Public Sector Employees.” UAE Government, n.d. Web.

“United States Employment Rate.” TradingEconomic.com, 2018. Web.

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