The people at Dubai Airports play a pivotal role in achieving its vision of becoming not only the worldʼs biggest airport in terms of international passenger numbers, but also the best in terms of service quality.

The Dubai Airports family brings together employees from 53 countries, united in achieving this single objective and delivered through the implementation of the $7.8 billion SP2020 expansion plan. This requires employees who are engaged and who pride themselves in doing the best they can to meet the organisation’s broader vision.

This can only be achieved by creating a workplace where employees are given the support both personally and professionally to thrive while delivering the organisation’s broader goals.

Over the past few years, Dubai Airports has continued to refine its employee offering while putting in place initiatives that ensure the manpower needs of the business are met in the most efficient and effective manner.

Dubai Airports’ progressive initiatives are already paying dividends. During 2012 Dubai Airports received industry recognition for its efforts by being named, for the second consecutive year, Employer of the Year at the Annual GCC HR Excellence Awards. The effectiveness of these measures is also reflected by the loyalty of its employees, recording a staff turnover of only four per cent with the average length of service reaching 9.2 years.


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Human Resources

In 2012 Dubai Airports continued to refine its policy and processes, particularly with regards to manpower planning. Recruitment lead times were dramatically shortened while more emphasis was placed on having the right skills in the right position, creating a workforce that is increasingly effective and efficient.

This renewed focus on manpower planning helped keep growth in manpower costs below revenue and passenger growth, with manpower costs growing 10.8 per cent between 2009 and 2012, while average revenue per employee grew 32 per cent over the same period.

Improved manpower planning resulted in an AED18 million saving in 2012, which contributed towards the funding of the remuneration and reward of existing employees.

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Internal vs External recruitment (number of employees hired by Dubai Airports)

  • 2010
  • 2011
  • 2012
  • 348
  • 197
  • 294
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Identifying and attracting the best talent available is the first step to ensuring that Dubai Airports has the right people to implement its vision.

The search for this talent begins from within Dubai Airports. In 2012, 55 per cent of all positions were filled internally, up from 51 per cent in 2011. Only where no suitable candidates were found were vacant positions advertised externally in the UAE, then regionally and internationally.

Overall, 348 positions were filled in 2012. By the end of 2012, Dubai Airports employed 3,348 people, with 157 new employees joining the company during a year that saw passenger numbers at Dubai International increase from 51 million to 57.6 million. Of these new employees 92 were UAE Nationals.

To ensure that the best talent available was recruited, Dubai Airports broadened its search for candidates through the use of social media platforms such as Linkedin and Twitter. The use of social media not only gave Dubai Airports a greater presence in the employment marketplace but ensured that it communicated directly with potential candidates who have the right skills and experience. The year 2012 also saw the shortening of the recruitment cycle.

Overall, the result of the initiatives introduced during the year was a more effective recruitment process, which benefited both the organisation through operational efficiencies and enhanced the reputation of Dubai Airports as an employer of choice.


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Learning and Development

Dubai Airports is fully committed to nurturing the personal growth of its people by ensuring they have the skills and knowledge to carry out their duties with confidence and pride.

In 2012, a new comprehensive portfolio of training and development courses was launched aimed at catering for all training needs across the organisation.

In addition to homegrown programmes, Dubai Airports partnered with globally recognised educational institutions. These included a range of Airport Management Programmes, which were developed for the various categories of management, from supervisors through to Senior Vice Presidents and the CEO.

The programmes for middle management are all recognised by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM), the UK’s largest awarding body for leadership and management qualifications, while the Senior Executive Development Programme is being conducted by the Weatherhead School of Management from Case Western Reserve University in the United States.

In parallel to the development of leadership capabilities at every level, new skills programmes were also launched in 2012.

In light of the continuous and aggressive expansion DA is undergoing, developing certified project managers has been a necessity. Working with the Airport Council International Dubai Airports has identified 75 employees who will undergo the Project Management Professional programme certified by the Project Management Institute, one of the world’s largest membership associations for the project management profession.

The language of aviation is English. The ability to communicate in English for those employees working on the airfield is mandatory according to of the International Civil Aviation Organisation regulations. For this reason 1,000 employees working airside will attend an English language training programme in 2013.

Several talent development programmes – which target high-performing and high-potential employees – were also launched in the past year, including:

  • Danaat:      Development programme for talented female employees
  • Jaheez:       Succession development programme
  • Masaar:      Graduate programme for UAE Nationals
  • Qaa’ed:      Development programme for middle management
  • Tatweer:    Postgraduate programme for high-performing UAE employees

More than just providing the skills needed to tackle the challenges at Dubai Airports, a new way of working and culture change was needed. Together with the launch of a new internal brand, the Create the Future programme encouraged Dubai Airports employees to change the way they worked by focusing more on providing a better service not only to our passengers, but to our stakeholders and colleagues too.

During the first half of 2012, 17 Create the Future sessions were held with 2,701 employees – or 81 per cent of the workforce – taking part in nine languages.

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National Identity

pageStylehalfUAE Nationals are playing an increasingly influential role in the success of Dubai Airports. According to 2012 staff statistics, 45 per cent of all employees in supervisory and management grades are Emiratis.

Further, some 61 per cent of executive-level managers are Emiratis while 22 per cent of the total employee base comprises UAE Nationals.

Training, development and recruitment policies and targeted development programmes, such as Masaar, Tatweer and Qaa’ed, have played a vital role in creating a committed, efficient workforce. They have also helped identify qualified UAE Nationals for valuable training slots.

Launched early in 2012, Masaar recruited seven highly talented Emirati students for the yearlong graduate programme. The graduates, selected through a stringent merit-based process, were given an opportunity to acquire skills and hands-on experience in fields as varied as airside operations, engineering services, corporate communications, terminal operations, human resources and finance.

The graduates worked through a development schedule that was industry-relevant and involved specialised training, external workshops and on-the-job training.

Also in 2012, Dubai Airports announced the sponsorship of five top-performing Emirati employees to pursue part-time education in aviation at the Emirates Aviation College in the 2012-14 academic years through the Tatweer initiative. The employees underwent a rigorous selection and interview process, which took into account their current performance in the work place and determined whether they had the dedication needed to complete their studies. Four of the employees will be studying towards MBA qualifications while the fifth will complete a Bachelor of Aviation.

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Turnover of staff as a percentage per year of total employee

  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2010
  • 2011
  • 2012
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Reward and Recognition

Dubai Airports’ reward and recognition schemes are designed to improve employee engagement, inspire the workforce, drive productivity and raise morale.

The accolades linked to the scheme include the Mega Star Performer Award (annual), Star Performer Award (quarterly) and Shooting Star Award Dubai (spontaneous), all of which recognise outstanding employee achievement and dedication. The scheme also features the Government Excellence Programme, which recognises and rewards employee ideas that improve health, safety and security; customer service and business development; operations and policies, as well as training initiatives and knowledge sharing in the public service.

The Shooting Star Award, originally introduced in 2010 as a method of recognising exemplary performance in a timely fashion, was given to 207 employees in 2012. Some 17 employees were designated Star Performers and three were recognised as Mega Star Performers.

Ibdaa, an initiative launched in 2011, also continued to gain in popularity. It encourages employees to submit suggestions on how to improve the airport and, if the suggestion is recognised, the employee receives a financial reward. A total of 232 suggestions were received, of which seven were implemented during the year. These include a new trolley bay for passengers using the metro and new dynamic signage directing passengers to their baggage carousel, both providing vital enhancements to our passenger service.

Recognition efforts are not restricted to the company’s employee base. During 2012 Dubai Airports organised and hosted a number of events to recognise the valuable contributions and support of its stakeholders and suppliers. These included HSSE contractor awards for excellence, Clean-up Day, Safety Day and National Customer Service Week.


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Employee Events

Dubai Airports recognises that maintaining its position as an employer of choice requires that it go that extra mile and find new and innovative ways to add value for each of the employees in the family.  Creating an environment where employees look forward to being part of Dubai Airports is integral to its success, and the company continues to add and refine its initiatives, which include events, seminars and special offers.

During the past year, Dubai Airports hosted an array of successful events, including numerous sports tournaments and cultural tours. Each of these events brought the entire organisation closer together and embodied each of the values Dubai Airports prides itself on: pride, ambition, energy, reliability and caring.

Additionally, the employee relations team continued to provide special offers through a new online employee discount portal launched in 2012, which features deals from more than 200 companies.