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22 Oct 2014 11:30

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, was named ‘Employer of the Year’ at the Middle East HR Excellence Awards 2014, which took place in Dubai last night. 

The prestigious accolade was revealed during a gala reception, attended by more than 400 senior professionals from across the Middle East HR sector. An independent panel of judges described Etihad Airways as “an employer of choice, whose superior people development strategies have resulted in a productive, engaged and motivated workforce”.

As one of the fastest growing airlines in the world, Etihad Airways has over 22,000 employees worldwide and prides itself on offering exciting opportunities for personal development and internal progression to its workforce, through a culture of performance, recognition and reward.

Staff at all levels have access to world-class training facilities, with more than 1,000 employees participating in training at any one time. A new corporate academy was opened in Abu Dhabi this year to encourage interactive and creating learning, with wireless technology, state-of-the-art audio visual facilities, and practical airline-related environments, such as mock check-in and contact centre desks. In addition, the academy will provide virtual classrooms that allow employees to attend a wide range of training sessions from any computer in the network.

Etihad Airways’ first international internal management program was also introduced this year, offering high performing potential managers an opportunity to fast track their careers. The initiative follows the success of the airline’s highly successful two-to-three year Graduate Management Program for Emiratis, which is underpinned by globally accredited qualifications and integrates classroom education with on-the-job training in the UAE and across the network.

The judging panel of the Middle East HR Excellence Awards 2014 also praised the airline’s commitment to sourcing and developing UAE nationals and its unique range of staff benefits. These include a first-of-its-kind aviation themed work place nursery, an ambulance service for employees, a full-service medical centre, flight benefits, accommodation assistance, education support, and a discount scheme for leisure facilities in the UAE and across the world.

The airline measures the effectiveness of its commitment through an Employee Opinion Survey, the results of which showed that 93 per cent of staff are proud to work for the airline, with 92 per cent willing to go beyond their normal job requirements in order to help the company succeed.

Ray Gammell, Etihad Airways’ Chief People and Performance Officer, said: “We are delighted to be named ‘Employer of the Year’ at the Middle East HR Excellence Awards 2014, as it recognises an unwavering commitment to our people.

“We received this award for our dedication to being an employer of choice both in the UAE and worldwide by providing our people with global opportunities for development and progression, a culture of performance and reward, best-in-class services and unique benefits.”

The Middle East HR Excellence Awards 2014, organised by Informa Middle East, honour the achievements of individuals, teams and organisations in the public and private sectors. The ‘Employer of the Year’ award was collected by Dr Nadia Bastaki, Etihad Airways’ Vice President Medical Service, and Ali Al Shamsi, Etihad Airways’ Vice President Abu Dhabi Hub.

Last night, Etihad Airways was also ranked by LinkedIn as one of the 100 most in-demand places to work in the world, based on billions of interactions from LinkedIn’s more than 313 million members. In addition, the airline’s employee training and development initiatives were honoured at the MENA HR Excellence Awards 2014, winning the ‘Distinction in Learning and Development’ award and a certificate of excellence for ‘Best Nationalisation Initiative’.

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