GCC private sector urged to adopt framework to raise nationalization levels

Booz Allen Hamilton reports that private sectors has been treating nationalization as a liability rather than an opportunity. (File photo: Reuters)

Private sector organizations across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are enjoined to adopt a more robust and tailored Human Resources (HR) model to improve labor nationalization levels in the private sector, Booz Allen Hamilton said in a report released Tuesday.

It said the private sector must explore new approaches to hiring, developing, nurturing, and retaining nationals, in order to meet critical employment obligations and leverage local talent as a competitive advantage.

According to the International Monetary Fund, the GCC’s private sector is expected to create approximately 600,000 new jobs for nationals by 2019 – only 50 percent of the 1.2 million projected nationals entering the workforce by that time. This indicates the likelihood of an increase in national unemployment rates unless new HR strategies are adopted to ensure that GCC nationals are successfully integrated into the private sector workforce.

Booz Allen Hamilton said that the private sector enterprises need to put an end to rule avoidance and illicit practices to meet government quotas, which are only to the detriment of their productivity, profitability, and sustainability. The sector must work ‘holistically’ toward greater levels of nationalization and tap into the local workforce as a source of rich talent.

“Successfully rethinking strategies to attract and retain nationals in the private sector workforce will offer tangible benefits to private organizations and increase their cultural diversity and social impact,” said Fuad Abdelhadi, Vice President People and Organization practice at Booz Allen Hamilton MENA and co-author of the report.

The report highlights that the private sector has – for too long – been treating nationalization quotas as a liability and a cost rather than an opportunity, and that the majority of private sector organizations lack the required talent management capabilities to attract nationals from the public to the private sector.

“True nationalization can be achieved only by balancing the strategic needs of the organization with the long term benefits of integrating into the local society,” said Rasheed Eltayeb, Vice President, Public Sector practice at Booz Allen Hamilton and co-author of the report. “Companies that have preemptively implemented this approach are already reaping benefits by attracting the cream of the national talent base. Only those that set upon a strategy-led and all-inclusive nationalization approach can thrive in the region for the long-term,” Fuad added.

The viewpoint references Emirates Group’s three phased nationalization strategy “Rehlaty” that ensures that nationals who join them are matched with the right opportunities, offers the necessary development tools and provides continuous training through the year. Similarly, HSBC’s UAE Graduate Training Program focuses on leadership development, tailored professional qualifications, structured career paths, performance-driven rewards, and international business exposure.

Booz Allen outlines approach to improving labor nationalization in the private sector:

1. HR Strategy – Ensure HR mission, vision, and strategy are focused on attracting, recruiting, and developing nationals. Form the right strategic alliances with educational institutions to convey and inject private sector skillset requirements into young nationals.

2. HR Organization and Culture – Develop and enforce the right HR delivery model and organization structure to effectively recruit nationals. . Motivate and empower nationals for a more agile, responsive and effective workforce. Tailor the organization’s culture to meet local habits and values.

3. HR Capabilities and Programs – Institute a strategic talent management capability that is focused on attracting, developing, and retaining nationals. Develop customized internships or part-time placements for young nationals. Institute compelling career paths to attract nationals to non-traditional careers. Offer a mix of financial and non-financial compensations to match and compete with public sector jobs.

4. HR Systems and Digital Enablement – Equip HR with the right technologies to recruit nationals efficiently. Leverage social media tools (e.g. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook) to recruit nationals. Provide nationals with the tools they need to perform their activities efficiently.

5. HR Measurement – Support HR to measure what matters and generate relevant fact-based insights that improve nationalization levels. Ensure HR has the right measures for the recruitment of high-caliber nationals.

This article first appeared in the Saudi Gazette on March 16, 2016.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:48 - GMT 06:48