//Discrimination based on age is common among UAE companies

Discrimination based on age is common among UAE companies

By Saifur Rahman, Business News Editor, Gulf News
6 Nov 2006

Dubai: About 65 per cent of the UAE's companies discriminate among employees on grounds of age, 41 per cent on gender and 41 per cent on disability, a latest survey said.

The findings are part of a survey released yesterday by the Dubai Ethics Resource Centre (DERC) and the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI).

The survey also found that apparently 93 per cent of companies are committed to Corporate Responsibility (CR) while 86 per cent believe that ignoring corporate responsibility will have a negative impact on the their bottom line; yet only 24 per cent undertake any form of CR reporting and 30 per cent have policies related to employee work-life balance.

Alex Zalami, DERC's executive director, said ready research material is not available in the UAE. "However, with this report, we can gauge awareness of CR and create an initial point of reference for future benchmarking activity in the local market."

The survey was based on interviews with senior managers. "We did not include lower-level or mid-level employees, so the numbers might look inflated," he said.

Analysts say, the figure is highly inflated and does not reflect reality. "The CR rating of the UAE would, in reality, be much lower. I think there is a hole in the study," Dr Khalid Maniar, managing partner of investment advisors AGN MAK, said.

The report found that UAE businesses are aware of CR practices, yet are not investing in developing CR programmes.

Raju Menon, managing partner at Morison Menon, said, "This country ranks much lower in CR rating, even by GCC standards. However, the good thing is that it is heading towards the right dirction.

"The UAE is only 35 years old. We will create standards and benchmark companies against them in the coming years, before launching a CR awards scheme," Zalami said.