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Youth unemployment



29.5% Saudi Arabia

Qatar 1.3%

18.8% Oman






(% of total labour force aged 15-24)

heavily contested. A 2012 paper by Kasim Randeree, at the time a senior researcher at Saïd Business School and Kellogg College, University of Oxford – Workforce Nationalization in the Gulf Cooperation Council States – noted that much of the current literature on the topic focused on the causes and means of nationalisation schemes, with only a limited body of evidence existing to shape the success of such programmes. “Education, training, the transfer of knowledge from expatriate to citizen, better approaches to encouraging citizens into the private sector and the greater inclusion of women are all significant issues that need to be tackled to fulfil the desired goal of nationalising the labour force across all GCC states,” says Randeree. Arguably, the task will not be complete until there is no such thing as ‘nationalisation’ and the notion of expat and local workforces becomes irrelevant. But companies operating in the region have a chance to get ahead of the regulatory trends, engage more closely with their local communities and strive to attract local talent. Those that do so will be building a more sustainable talent pool for their operations and helping to make the most of the region’s most abundant natural resource: its people. 22

People Management Middle East


“We are investing in the next generation” The Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority sees nationalisation as central to business continuity As the COO of the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority (QFCRA), Eisa Abdulla wants to help build a successful organisation. In order to do that, he knows he will need access to a sustainable pool of talent who will be the organisation’s future team members and drive its progress. Nationalisation is central to achieving this, as it will bring stability and continuity to the regulatory authority’s operations. “Stability is one of the most important things and I look at nationalisation as a tool to bring business continuity,” says Abdulla. “You need to invest to feed the organisation with people who will stay and develop others to become a self-sustaining and self-operating organisation with nationals.”

Abdulla says it is important the organisation builds a platform to bring the right Qatari talent into the business, empowering them to succeed. “I don’t think of it as nationalisation,” he says. “I look at it as a professional succession plan where we are investing in people to grow, investing in the new generation and investing in talent – and in this case it happens to be Qataris.” It’s a process that starts with building awareness among the next generation about the variety of roles at QFCRA and how it will work with them to develop their capabilities. This includes engaging with universities and even two high schools to help get more information to the future talent pool. The authority also engages directly with the parents of potential recruits, who can be very influential when it comes to the career decision process. This reflects the importance Qataris place on making their family proud. A key attraction for prospective employees is a clearly laid out and structured plan for career development, known as Al Masar. The five-stage plan guides graduates through a clear pathway into leadership roles, or technical expertise, depending on what they want to pursue. The plan provides a guiding framework for potential progress, but is flexible so it can be individualised. “We build the path, but how to accelerate is up to the individual,” says Abdulla. “It is done in a coaching style. We build the expectations of the individuals and what they need to do. We enable them but, at the end of the day, it is a personal development plan.”

“I don’t think of it as a form of nationalisation – it is more professional succession planning”

Eisa Abdulla sa ys structured care a development pl er way to attract an is a an talented natio d retain nals

People Management Middle East issue 7  
People Management Middle East issue 7