Developing local talent in the Middle East

Written by
Changeboard Team

22 Feb 2013

22 Feb 2013 • by Changeboard Team

2013: The year of Emiratisation

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced 2013 as the year of Emiratisation. While the country puts great emphasis on the employment of national talent, especially in the public sector and semi-government companies, there’s a trend now to encourage the private sector to absorb more Emirati citizens in order to alleviate unemployment and help them develop skills for the future. 

Other countries

Saudi Arabia’s ‘point method’ regulates the employment of expats vs Saudis – another approach to encourage companies to hire local talent. Apart from the GCC countries, Lebanon is planning to launch a $2.2 million program to encourage employers to help first-time job seekers, which offers 12-months’ on-the-job training in a private firm, plus life skills training, counselling and placement services.

Other countries such as Egypt and Jordan try to control the number of expats by imposing a specific ratio (Egypt is 9 locals to 1 expat; Jordan is 1:1) so more local employees get the opportunity to join private and public companies.

A challenge for local development

Middle Eastern governments are exerting great effort to create initiatives to encourage the employment and development of local talent. Within this framework, it becomes a strategic priority for HR professionals in the region to develop appropriate and responsible plans for localization; this also becomes part of the company’s corporate social responsibility. In the UAE for example, it’s common for Emiratisation to be a key point on the business agenda that’s regularly followed up. Some HR departments have their own ‘Emiratisation development’ person who plans and implements development initiatives for the local workforce.

A fantastic challenge for HR is to develop local talent and improve its skills to eventually lead businesses in the future.