Retail giant Majid Al Futtaim is to hire 3,000 Emiratis in a new recruitment drive.
The decision followed the UAE government's new target of 10 per cent of company workforces comprised of UAE citizens within five years.
The vast majority of Emiratis work in the public sector and the government wants to get 75,000 into the private sector within five years, under an Emiratisation programme called Nafis.
"We have a collective sense of responsibility to support and upskill the talented and ambitious national workforce that exists in the UAE," said chief executive Alain Bejjani.
"There have been commendable efforts over the years to create more opportunities for UAE nationals within the public and private sectors.
"The Nafis programme announced by the UAE government this week will make careers in the private sector even more attractive to young Emiratis, whose contributions are crucial to building a sustainable future.
"We remain committed to increasing Emirati representation in our company over the next five years."
In response, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, tweeted his "thanks and appreciation" to Majid Al Futtaim. He said the company would be given "priority in government contracts" in recognition.
The government stipulates that roles should be skilled and knowledge-based. Majid Al Futtaim said it will promote its 'train to hire' graduate programme at Emiratis leaving university, with several more programmes to follow.
Mr Bejjani added: “Employing local talent is a priority at Majid Al Futtaim and we view it as a competitive advantage that is integral to our long-term success. We are proud to support the UAE Government’s vision to build the region’s most competitive economy."
Majid Al Futtaim, one of the largest employers in the Middle East with 43,000 personnel, is known for running Dubai's Mall of the Emirates, one of 18 shopping centres it runs in the UAE, along with 500 Vox Cinema screens across the region.
Last week, in Abu Dhabi, ministers set a Dh24 billion ($6.53bn) plan for the project, including financial incentives to encourage Emiratis to look at jobs with private businesses, including salary top-ups.
An Emirati university graduate can expect Dh5,000 a month from the government on top of their regular salary, plus support payments for his or her children. A separate scheme makes provisions for up to Dh3,200 per month to help towards childcare for Emiratis taking on private sector jobs.
Source: The National