Ad for sandwich maker job infuriates UAE locals

Photo of the ad that sparked fury among the UAE locals. Twitter

A job ad sparked fury among the UAE locals. They termed the 'sandwich maker' job ad as humiliating. The advertiser...

Photo of the ad that sparked fury among the UAE locals. Twitter
Photo of the ad that sparked fury among the UAE locals. Twitter

  • A job ad sparked fury among the UAE locals. 
  • They termed the 'sandwich maker' job ad as humiliating. 
  • The advertiser - a retail giant - retracted the ad and apologised. 

DUBAI: A job advertisement inviting Emiratis to apply for the position of "sandwich maker" has sparked outrage, with citizens condemning allegedly humiliating attempts to provide employment – and authorities investigating.

The UAE Public Prosecution office said Saturday it was opening an "immediate investigation" following a "contentious" job advert and was even "interrogating the CEO of the business".

It didn't specify the firm or CEO, but the statement came after the Kamal Osman Jamjoom Group -- a retail giant -- advertised the position at the Subway fast food chain tailored specifically for Emirati nationals "to support the state's efforts to localize jobs".

The vacancy announcement -- later retracted -- came ahead of a looming January deadline for private UAE-based companies with more than 50 employees to ensure that two percent of their staff are UAE nationals, on pain of fines.

"This is mockery," one Twitter user said in response to the Subway vacancy.

Another Twitter post shared by hundreds, read: "The lack of administrative, financial and technical jobs has led to 'sandwich maker'....Oh, what an age!"

Even Emirati academics were drawn into the conversation.

"This post-oil transition period is proving difficult," said Emirati researcher Mira al-Hussein.

Others, however, said there is no shame in such jobs, with one Emirati noting on Twitter that billionaire Jeff Bezos started out as a McDonald's employee.

In a post on Saturday, the UAE Public Prosecution office said "the job ad has broken both Emiratisation regulations and media content standards as it included contentious content".

The Kamal Osman Jamjoom Group has apologised for the ad, saying a "translation error" led to faulty formulation.

According to the International Labor Organization, more than 90 per cent of the UAE's private sector labour force is comprised of expatriates.

UAE nationals are mainly employed in stable and relatively well-paying jobs in the country's vast public sector, the ILO says.

As part of a push to boost Emirati employment, the UAE government this year launched a mandatory 'Emiratisation' drive that obliges most major private sector companies to hire nationals in skilled positions.

As of January 1, 2023, non-compliant firms can face fines of up to 6,000 dirhams ($1,633) for each position they have failed to fill with an Emirati national.

Last month, the UAE's Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation Abdulrahman Abdulmannan al-Awar said that more than 14,000 Emiratis have entered the job market in 2022.