Emirates to expand: Do benefits outweigh candidate experience?
Dubai-based Emirates Group announced that the aviation company is looking to expand its staff size by 6 per cent by March next year. For this, the company will be hiring 11,000 new employees to its globally-placed existing 75,000; it will also be adding 20 aircrafts to its fleet. As per reports, nearly half will be recruited for the Dubai-based cabin crew roles. Other positions will be open to flights operations, engineers, airport services and corporate roles.
According to a report by the Economic Times, Emirates received over 480,000 job applications from across the world in 2014. Emirates currently has more than 12,000 employees who have been with the company for over 10 years, and 3000 who have been serving for over 20 years; the data speaks for itself when it comes to employee retention. Emirates takes pride in its diverse environment with employees from different cultural, religious and ethnic backgrounds. In the aviation industry, Emirates stands as a brand with its multi-cultural workspace and elaborate benefits such as low cost travel facilities for staff and their families, free accommodation, world class travel experience, etc.
However, there seems to be a gap when it comes to employee expectations and the company’s HR strategy. Reviewing the company on Glassdoor, many of the employees have vented out their dissatisfaction despite the company’s sumptuous benefit programmes. While almost all of the candidates seem to have outlined travel benefits, free housing and brand name as the pros of working at Emirates, many have hinted towards slow personal growth, hectic work schedule, and adverse work-life balance; some have even pointed towards discrimination based on nationalities with one of the reviews saying, “Career progression is limited to UAE nationals”. The reviews therefore, agnostically contradict the company’s pride in its diverse workforce.
There is no doubt that the data highlighting the company’s strong talent retention outweighs employee expectation. Rewards and recognition today, however, do not just extend to monetary benefits but come in varied forms, such as experience, growth and satisfaction, long term career path and recognition. One of the current employees working as a system analyst in Dubai writes in his review, “Motivation is lacking,” while a senior flight stewardess writes, “The management is some of the worst I've ever worked with. It seems they don't have high regard for their employees and you really are just a number to them. This issue stems way from the top and filters all the way down even to on-board management.”
With growing competition from companies like Etihad, attrition can increase over a period of time with constant negative reviews by employees. In a digitally enabled era when the word of mouth is just a desktop away, ensuring job satisfaction among employees becomes a core function of HR. HR, in any industry, need to be able to motivate people and drive an enabling work culture.