Majid Al Futtaim, Al Masar and KPMG win Nafis Emiratisation awards

01 May 2023 6 min. read
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At a ceremony event held in Abu Dhabi, UAE President Sheikh Mohamed and Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid honoured companies in the UAE that excel in their Emiratisation strategies, with Majid Al Futtaim, Al Masar Recruitment Services and KPMG taking home the inaugural prizes of the Nafis Awards.

Launched last year as part of its Emiratisation agenda, the Nafis Awards place the spotlights on private sector organisations that have demonstrated excellence in achieving the Emiratisation targets. The awards are supervised by the Emirati Talent Competitiveness Council.

The Awards are part of the UAE’s longer-term ambition to drive up the Emirati employment rate. Currently at around 5%, that number is set to increase to 8% in 2025 and 10% in 2026. “Emiratisation is an economic, social and security priority, and this is a fact that everyone must understand,” according to Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid.

Majid Al Futtaim, Al Masar and KPMG win Nafis Emiratisation awards

The first edition of the Nafis Awards comprised three categories, with the award for large companies (with 1,000 or more employees) bagged by Majid Al Futtaim, the prize for medium-sized companies (500 to 999 employees) won by Al Masar Recruitment Services, and professional services firm KPMG coming out on top in the small companies award (fewer than 500 employees).

Commenting on the recognition, Emilio Pera, the CEO of KPMG Lower Gulf (UAE and Oman), said: “We are incredibly proud to have been recognised as one of the three best companies in achieving Emiratisation.”

In addition, 21 other companies were recognised for distinguishing themselves in achieving Emiratisation targets and training. Meanwhile, over two dozen Emirati citizens took home individuals awards.

Abdulrahman Al Awar, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratization, said: “The award shows the country support for the success of Emiratisation guidelines and marks another move ahead to increase the Emiratisation efforts in the private industry. The involvement of the private industry is crucial for the broader journey of the country.”

NAFIS Awards

During the awards ceremony, President Sheikh Mohamed said empowering a skilled and qualified national workforce is a top priority for the UAE which should be supported by all institutions, government departments and private sector partners working together.

“We have ambitious national objectives to develop the Emiratisation programme, which is crucial to the UAE's development journey,” he said. “Our policy focuses on strengthening partnerships between government and private sector institutions, investing in youth potential, and enhancing their expertise.”

The government has also laid out a number of regulatory drivers in support of the ambition. Private sector companies in the UAE with at least 50 employees must ensure at least 3% of their workforce is made up of Emiratis by July 1. In revised targets set out in February, employers are expected to meet a 4% target by the end of the year.

Last month, the UAE introduced the Industrialist Programme, designed to increase Emiratisation in the industrial sector, upskill national graduates and help them find skilled jobs.