Adia also has a constant stream of applications from expatriates
, the number of which has tripled in the past year as the global financial crisis has deepened and its prominence has grown with western bankers hammering at SWFs' doors for financial backing.
Mr Hajeri, who received an Adia scholarship to study at a US university, describes recruitment as one of Adia's highest priorities, adding that the fund's recruitment process has become increasingly rigorous in recent years to make it more targeted
But, while having Emiratis in the workforce is considered important to the culture and identity of Adia, the fund still relies heavily on expatriate workers. Last year, it took on more than 100 new staff, about a quarter of whom were Emiratis, and it is projected
to recruit a similar number this year, while its attrition rate
is just 6 per cent.
Still, Adia is not immune to the global turmoil
. About 80 per cent of the portfolio is externally managed, including 60 per cent that is passively managed through indexed tracker funds. And as markets have taken a battering
across the globe, experts say Adia has not been spared
. The difference is that Adia is a long-term investor that is diversified across assets, officials say, and has the security of a pipeline of funding from Abu Dhabi's oil wealth.
Reassuring job security
"Adia is not the kind of company that would be suddenly shedding employees
in a short-term reaction to a downturn in the market and then frantically re-recruiting again by the time the cycle ticks around," says Simon Pannell, an Australian occupational psychologist
who joined in 2002 to bring a more scientific approach to the selection process.
The enthusiasm of Ms Qubaisi and Mr Rumaithi has certainly not been quenched
. He was a relatively late starter. After studying biochemistry, he worked with the health authority but found that life too mundane and embarked
on an MBA course. A friend introduced him to the sovereign wealth fund.
"For me myself, I'm crazy about investing," Mr Rumaithi says. "Seeing an opportunity, doing the due diligence and then getting a reward from an investment... that's what got me thinking more about Adia."
Ms Qubaisi took a more direct path, joining the recruitment process straight after graduating. Dressed in a black abiya
, she exudes
a quiet confidence as she describes surviving six interviews, two assessments and a tough psychometric test.
And in a sign of the growing confidence of many young Arab women, she says she will pursue her career even after she is married. "I didn't choose finance or Adia just like this: I had a goal, so I have a right to pursue my goal."