Interview with Jamal Lootah
Interview with Jamal Lootah, CEO of Imdaad on the importance of nationalisation
fmME: Are there any incentives from the government that are encouraging FM service providers to incorporate more Nationals into their respective workforce?
Lootah:The government has taken key measures and significant initiatives to encourage facilities management companies to recruit more UAE nationals to join their workforce — one of which is an attractive pension scheme.
fmME: What kind of incentives does Imdaad offers Nationals to get them involved in FM? What kind of career progression can a national expect in Imdaad?
Lootah: Imdaad launched a UAE national development program called ‘Elham’ to entice young Emirati graduates into starting their journey towards leadership excellence in our company.
Under the program, they will be equipped with the right skills and knowledge to face all industry challenges through classroom and on-the-job trainings. Coaching sessions and assignmentsform part of their learning. Imdaad is in the process of generating potential industry leaders as we continue to liveup to our corporate brand values in pursuit of our vision.
Emiratis who are part of Imdaad’s diverse working environment are given the opportunity to advance in their careers through oursuccession planning and retention programs.These initiatives will help develop their managerial skills and competencies.
fmME: Do you find a large number of Nationals becoming more involved in FM? If yes, what is it about the industry that makes it particularly well suited for Emiratisation?
Lootah: We are seeing a considerable rise in the number of UAE nationals joining the FM industry. This can be attributed to industry’s competitive remuneration packages.
fmME: With the increasing quota of Nationals working inside the industry, are we also witnessing an increasing number of national women working in the industry?
Lootah: Yes. More and more Emirati women are now joining the industry per our recent recruitment initiative held in line with our Emiratisation program. We have been witnessing a growing number of vacancies for them over the past few years.
fmME: Where are the Nationals acquiring theirskill-set? Are they developing their skills here in the Middle East or aboard?
Lootah: Beginners usually acquire their skill-set in local universities, while professionals opt to go overseas to study for further career development.
fmME: For your training, do you rely on in-house resources or do you use any external training facilities? If yes, could you identify them?
Lootah: We do have in-house training resources for soft skill trainings and we use external training facilities for specialized technical trainings.
fmME: The FM industry is expected to witness massive growth in the emerging markets around the region such as KSA and Qatar. How important are Nationals in this regional expansion as the industry matures?
Lootah: With the FM industry’s continuous substantial growth and development, a massive number of employment opportunities will be generated. We also aim to employ young Emiratis who are fresh out of college and whose specialties cover various aspects of the industry.
Furthermore, we are encouraging Nationals to take advantage of the regional expansion to help attain demographic balance in the workforce.
fmME: As the FM industry continues to rapidly evolve, especially in western markets where technological advancement is changing how services are delivered, do you find your National workforce coping and remaining up-to-date with the technological and environmental standards?
Lootah: Yes. Our Emirati employees work alongside our highly qualified foreign staff who are exposed to the industry’ new technological advancements. They are able to share experience and exchange knowledge by working closely with each other.
Our specially designed technical training and awareness programs enable both expatriates and Emiratis to be up-to-date on new technological and environmental standards.