Business paper

Category: Business


The Emirates Group is an international aviation holding company that is headquartered in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Emirates Group is primarily made up of Dnata (one of the world’s largest suppliers of air services such as flight catering and aircraft ground handling, with a global footprint in 37 countries) and Emirates Airline (the largest airline in the Middle East). Emirates flies to more than 125 destinations across six continents, operating a fleet of more than 180 wide-bodied aircraft. The airline also has 170 aircraft on order worth AED 213 billion (about $58 billion in U.S. dollars; the dirham, AED, currency used in the UAE has been pegged to the U.S. dollar at a rate of 3.6725 since 1997). Sales turnover for The Emirates Group is AED 67.4 billion ($18.4 billion in U.S. dollars) and the company employs more than 85,000 people who represent more than 160 countries. The Emirates Group views its employee diversity of more than 160 nationalities as a unique strength given its prominent role as a truly global organization. Emirates’ opinion is that talent is not nationality exclusive, and diversity of nationalities, cultures, religious and ethnic backgrounds enriches the workforce. These come in the form of a constant flow of new ideas, innovations, and thinking styles that are then implemented and lead to business success. The company’s employee diversity also complements Emirates’ headquarter city of Dubai as a cosmopolitan multicultural population, where about 85 percent of the 3 million residents are expatriates. Dubai is the most populous city in the UAE; it is the capital of the Emirate of Dubai, one of seven emirates that make up the country. In Dubai, the core ethic groups living and working in the city are Indian (53 percent), Emirati (15 percent), Pakistani (13 percent), and Bangladeshi (8 percent). The remaining inhabitants, each with less than 3 percent, include Filipinos, Sri Lankans, and Americans. On average, the people in Dubai are young (27 years), and they mainly come from a background of four cultures: Arabian, Arabic, Emirati, and Islamic. The official language is Arabic, but English is widely spoken and has become both the preferred business language as well as the choice in social settings. Islam is the official state religion, although, as with the myriad of people with different backgrounds, there are varied religious beliefs among the population. Dubai has large expatriate communities of Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs, and others With “people” as one of The Emirates Group’s core values, the company offers a range of generous benefits to assist expatriate employees who are recruited globally to live in Dubai. Through detailed research and analysis, the remuneration policy focuses on developing compensation and benefits policies that are globally competitive. In fact, the main focus for the company is to ensure that The Emirates Group remains competitive within the market it operates. This, by extension, will ensure thatPage 124 Emirates attract and retain the right talent. Employment of high-quality people who benefit from working and living in Dubai are important. This places extra emphasis on work-related conditions and cultural integration in the community, as best as expatriate employees from around the world can be assimilated into the Dubai environment. One of the ugly sides of expatriates in Dubai is the army of migrant workers. These workers, who are largely from South East Asia, are paid a minuscule salary compared with developed-nation expatriates and significantly below what they need to be able to earn to afford products or services at Dubai’s fashionable boutiques and glamorous world-leading hotels. Technically, human rights in Dubai are protected and equal based on the Constitution of the United Arab Emirates. That includes the promise of equitable treatment of all people, regardless of race, nationality, or social status. The actual employment practices, though, have been criticized by a number of human rights organizations, albeit more recently the country has made strides to improve. Sources: Rob Britton, “Emirates Finally Hits Turbulence,” The Huffington Post, January 24, 2017; “The Middle East’s Once Fast-Expanding Airlines Are Coming Under Pressure,” The Economist, March 14, 2017; Dominic Dudley, “Is The Emirates Airline Growth Story at an End?” Forbes, November 11, 2016; Natalie Robehmed, “How Dubai Became One of the Most Important Aviation Hubs in the World,” Forbes, June 4, 2016; “Emirates Group Announces 26th Consecutive Year of Profit,” Forbes Middle East, May 7, 2014; “Super-Connecting the World,” The Economist, April 25, 2015. Case Discussion Questions Is it sustainable to think that Emiratis, which make up only about 15 percent of the people in Dubai, can be leading the city as they have been for so long? Integrating 160 different nationalities into one corporation, such as The Emirates Group, has challenges and opportunities. What challenges do you see? What opportunities come from this diverse workforce? If you lived in a city with such diversity of people as Dubai, would you assimilate yourself with the people who are like you, or would you try to integrate into the overall community of all people? Compared with 10 years ago, expatriate employees stay twice as long in Dubai, about five years, before they return to their home country or another foreign location. Do you think more expatriates will stay longer in Dubai as the city continues to develop into a world-class location?