Industrialization problems in the UAE with particular reference to the shortage of indigenous skilled manpower.
The UAE is a small capital-rich country short in indigenous manpower,
both skilled and unskilled. However, it has an unlimited supply of
foreign manpower. Indigenes constitute about a fourth of the
population, one tenth of the total workforce, but only 2% of the
industrial workforce. Industrialization is the main avenue for
development and in the post-oil era various public sector projects
have been set up including oil refineries, gas liquefaction plants, a
fertilizer plant, an aluminium smelter and cement factories, as well
as smaller private sector factories for building materials, consumer
and food products, etc. Industries suffer from local competition due
to duplication of projects caused by lack of co-ordination between the
emirates and from foreign competition due to lack of protection since
the State has a free trade policy.
Although industries do not suffer from manpower shortages, the lack of
indigenous skilled manpower is a national problem since the industrial
sector is controlled by foreigners. Xoreover, one of the aims of
industrialization should be the development of a skilled national
workforce that can generate the national income after the oil is
exhausted. The rapid expansion in education has been with little
planning. There has also been little economic and work-market
planning and no co-ordination with educational planning. Government
guarantees jobs to uni versi ty graduates at above market wages as a
welfare-oriented oil income distribution policy. Therefore, local
graduates avoid working for industry, particularly the private sector.
There are only 3 industrial schools and industrial students equal 2%
of general secondary education students. Furthermore, industrial
school graduates work mainly for employers s~ch as the police and army
and often not in their specialiZations. The UAE has thus failed to
develop productive human resources and to benefit from its industrial
education which is more expensive than general education.