Latest LINKEDIN 2018 Recruiting Trends in the MENA Review

Latest LINKEDIN 2018 Recruiting Trends in the MENA Review

Here is an interesting interpretation of the latest LINKEDIN 2018 Recruiting Trends in the MENA review as published by COMMSMEA on January 22nd, 2018. The ensuing conversation is best to be followed directly on COMMSMEA’s Twitter account. To be followed. 

LinkedIn unveils the biggest game changer in hiring in MENA

By killing the transaction, these trends giving MENA companies more time to build candidate relationships, Ali Matar says.


Diversity has evolved to be the biggest game-changer and most embraced trend in the MENA with over half of companies are already tackling it head-on, according to LinkedIn’s annual ‘Global Recruiting Trends 2018’ report. 

80% of talent acquisition leaders and hiring managers have said that diversity is the top trend affecting how they hire, with companies prioritising diversity – gender, race, ethnicity, age, education, etc to improve culture and boost financial performance, as they are increasingly realising that diverse teams are more productive, more innovative, and more engaged.

The report has unveiled four top trends globally as well as in the MENA region which are expected to have an impact on the way we find jobs, get hired and stay engaged at work in 2018- Diversity, New interviewing tools, Data and Artificial Intelligence.

“Hiring talent has become highly transactional. Collectively these four trends are elevating recruiting to a more strategic profession. By killing the transaction, they’re giving MENA companies more time to build candidate relationships and think critically about how to win talent,” said Ali Matar, Head of LinkedIn Middle East and North Africa, LinkedIn.

More than half (58%) of hiring managers feel that interviewing innovations are ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ important to the future of hiring. Innovations such as job auditions, soft skills tests, meeting candidates in casual settings, virtual reality assessments and video interviews are gaining traction.

The new era of talent intelligence is allowing recruiting professionals to use data to influence the strategic direction of their companies and elevate their own careers. 48% of respondents have said that they see data analytics as critical to the future of hiring, with 48% identifying it as a top trend affecting how they hire.

Hiring managers in MENA are also already seeing the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how it can help them work faster by automating administrative tasks, and smarter by generating insights they wouldn’t think of alone. 36% of professionals feel that AI is a top trend affecting how they go about hiring employees.

“AI is the future, but so is the human touch. AI is a huge step forward for talent acquisition, but it will never fully automate it. Companies still need people — people to persuade and negotiate, to understand candidate needs, and to build communities and cultures. These four trends are just the beginning of what we predict is a movement to make the transactional recruiter obsolete. To stay alive professionally, recruiters will have to embrace them,” Ali Matar added.

Filipino leader threatening the Gulf countries

Filipino leader threatening the Gulf countries

The following article of Gulf Business of January 24th, 2018 would not come as a surprise.  It is perhaps due to the specific character of the Filipino leader threatening the Gulf countries to block any filipino manpower movement.  It was his reacting to his fellow country people mistreatment. It is above all because of the precarious life that the millions of Filipinos and Filipinas notably in the GCC countries are still leading. Life that is lately turning more and more arduous as the Arab Gulf countries seem to have entered a new phase. VAT apart, taxation generally and especially that on the expatriates’ remittances being mulled here and there are not helping. Other bureaucratic requirements and all sorts of administrative blockages to all foreign workers are noticeably heavier. In effect the Gulf countries by implementing new strategies in favour of the local youth as well as empowerment of local women seem to be turning all the countries of the GCC less and less in need of all that expatriate manpower. Moreover, start-ups making their mark in the local national populations leave very little room if not at all for the enterprising foreign youth. No political rights whatsoever were ever to be had but new relations are forming, and the Philippines would be by now feeling the pinch after years of easy and regular Dollar inflows.

So here is that Gulf Business Middle East article where the president’s comments come less than a week after he banned Filipinos from working in Kuwait.

Philippines’ Duterte threatens Middle East work ban



Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to ban his countrymen and women from working in the Middle East over concerns of mistreatment.


The premier’s comments on Wednesday come less than a week after he banned Filipinos from working in Kuwait after four domestic workers were abused and committed suicide.


A ban would affect the more than two million Filipinos currently employed across the Middle East, many as maids and retail workers.


“One more incident about a woman, a Filipina worker being raped there, committing suicide, I’m going to stop — I’m going to ban” Filipinos working, Duterte said before boarding a flight to attend a regional summit in India, according to AFP.


“And I’m sorry to all the Filipinos there, they can all go home.


“Let me be blunt about this because Kuwait has always been an ally. But please do something about it and for the other countries of the Middle East.”


Philippine foreign secretary Alan Peter Cayetano was separately quoted as saying that Duterte had reacted to a report detailing abuses in Kuwait.


He said there was a “grave concern” about the incidents in the country, which is home to 250,000 Filipino nationals. Those already working in Kuwait are unaffected by the ban.


Officials from both sides have met over the last week with Kuwait initially expressing surprise that the Philippines had taken such a drastic step.


Cayetano said the country was “sending a message” to end the abuse of its citizens working abroad.


An estimated 10 million Filipinos work abroad, and they send billions of dollars in remittances home each year.

Read: Philippines stops transfer of workers to Kuwait




Expatriate Businesses started up  across the GCC

Expatriate Businesses started up across the GCC

All the countries of the GCC have over the years employed expatriate manpower of mainly Asian origin. This working population was needed by the booming economies that have benefitted from a decades long surge and high levels of oil prices related revenues. Relatively good living standards and total absence of income tax followed on and were appreciated by all expats. Amongst these, some sort of a social decantation process took place and a number of leaders came into the light of day. A great number of successful Expatriate Businesses started up across the GCC and expanded across its member countries. Some of these are now claiming their share in the prosperity they helped engender if only for posterity’s sake.

It all started when oil prices having tumbled and lately been volatilising upward more than down for reasons outside their control, made the GCC respective authorities introduce various regulation items such as those applicable to all foreigners applying to work in the UAE. These come at a time when, according to many experts, salaries in the UAE are not expected in 2018 to keep up with inflation after the introduction of a 5% value added tax rate. They all nevertheless agree that wages across the Middle East would increase if at all but at a rate that is certainly lower than that of last year’s. Apart from that, any foreign worker will as of now be required to obtain a good conduct and behaviour certificate in order to be granted a work visa, state news agency WAM confirmed last Monday. This certificate must be issued from the applicant’s home country and certified by the UAE mission in that country.

The UAE looking at attracting and retaining the best talent from around the world has engaged into a program of reshaping the country’s economy through notably its diversification.

The reality on the ground is that whether from the huge numbers or origins of the diverse communities of the expatriate workers, the countries of the GCC will definitely be impacted by their passage as reported in this article of The National of January 9, 2018. We must say that in this article, it is question of people originating from a south west country of India, namely Kerala from which a great number of “NRIs” as these are best known as Non-Resident-Indians in every country of the GCC.

From schools to hospitals, Kerala businessmen leave imprint on UAE

Some of the UAE’s biggest names in business come from India’s Kerala state.

By Ramola Talwar Badam

From supermarket magnates to industrialists who have built education conglomerates or established hospitals, some of the UAE’s biggest business names come from India’s Kerala state.

A large portion of the one million people from Kerala who work in the UAE are employed as nurses, drivers, technicians, electricians and accountants.

But there are also those who can be found in the self-made billionaires list and philanthropists who give back to the community by building local schools and clinics.

Yusuff Ali, managing director of the UAE-based Lulu Group left a village in Kerala for a job in his uncle’s distribution business in the 1970s. Described by Forbes as the Middle East’s retail king, his group owns close to 140 hypermarkets and supermarkets across the Middle East, Africa, India and the far East.

Handed the Queen’s Award last year for his contribution to international trade and employment generation in the UK, Mr Ali has diversified into hotel development and food processing.

Dr Azad Moopen, chairman of the DM Healthcare group, spearheads a healthcare chain that operates 18 hospitals, close to 100 clinics and more than 200 pharmacies in the Middle East and India.

A general physician who taught at a government medical college in Kerala, he moved to Dubai in 1987 to help an Indian doctor in an Ajman clinic.

Mr Moopen runs a foundation to help women and the elderly.

One of the most successful education entrepreneurs, Sunny Varkey, is the son of teachers who migrated to Dubai in 1959. Gems Education, of which Mr Varkey is founder, now runs more than 70 schools in 14 countries.

Mr Varkey’s group funds the training of thousands of teachers in programmes in Africa.

Read more:

Sky is the limit for India’s new rich

Saudi banning foreign employment in gold and jewellery shops

Saudi banning foreign employment in gold and jewellery shops

An interesting article of Gulf Business posted on December 4, 2017 on how Saudi Arabia in its multi-facetted program of “Saudization” is getting down to the nitty-gritty of specialized retail business. As if the country does have enough things to worry about these days, this recently included Saudi banning foreign employment in gold and jewellery shops. 

Saudi bans employment of foreigners in gold and jewellery shops

A deadline for businesses to employ Saudis in the sector ended on Sunday

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Labour and Social Development on Sunday began the process of fully nationalising jobs in the kingdom’s gold and jewellery industry.

The move, which will make it illegal to employ foreigners in the sector, follows several failed attempts to Saudise industry jobs over the last 16 years, according to Saudi Gazette.

It is estimated that the majority of the around 30,000 workers in the sector are expatriates. These are spread across 6,000 gold shops.

The nationalisation programme is expected to provide 5,000 jobs for Saudis when it is fully implemented.

The ministry is also hoping to reduce instances of businesses run by foreigners in the name of Saudis by 40 per cent.

During previous Saudisation efforts in the sector many businesses in Makkah and other cities were found to be operating under a form of fake Saudisation.

This was partly because work in the sector has proved to be unattractive to Saudi citizens, with monthly salaries averaging SAR3,000 ($800) to SAR7,000 ($1,863).

Shops found to be employing foreigners from Sunday will face a SAR20,000 ($5,324) fine for each expat worker.

Permanent inspectors have been appointed in markets and malls to punish violators.

Foreigners married to Saudi women will be exempt from the new regulation provided they remain together or have children.

The kingdom’s gold and jewellery market is estimated to be worth SAR14bn ($3.72bn).

The ministry has also issued regulation to fully Saudise other businesses and sectors as part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 reforms.

These include mobile phone shops and stores selling female-specific items.


Read: Gold and jewellery shops in Saudi face $5k fines

Saudi’s riches conceal lack of decision making

Saudi’s riches conceal lack of decision making

Saudi’s riches conceal lack of decision making on every single item of the country’s main current worrisome concerns. For instance, in Keep OPEC out of Wall Street published by Journal of Energy Security of July 19, 2017, we were informed that for the past several months two of the world’s leading stock exchanges – the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the London Stock Exchange (LSE) – have been competing over the listing of Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s national oil company, in what would be the largest IPO in history. 
But for the Saudis the choice between New York and London is not an easy one. Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, who was recently installed as the Kingdom’s crown prince and who is considered the mastermind of the IPO, prefers an NYSE listing which would solidify US-Saudi relations even beyond the recent $350 billion arms deal between the two countries. Aramco executives on the other hand prefer London as there, they believe, the company would be more protected from shareholders lawsuits over not only the conduct of the company but also that of the Saudi government. To date no decision has been made.
No one can blame the owners of those exchanges for their eagerness. The same is true for the underwriters of the IPO like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan or the various consultancies and law firms benefiting from lucrative retainers and consulting fees associated with the offering. With an estimated valuation of $2 trillion the five percent Aramco will be offering the public are valued at $100 billion – more than the combined value of the top five largest IPOs ever floated in New York City. With such a bonanza every crumb is a mountain of cash. But from the broader public’s perspective things look vastly different. The Aramco IPO is a test of the integrity of our financial system and under the current structure no democratic government which believes in free and open markets should expose its investors to such an offering.
In the meantime, the IMF has recently come up with this conclusion-report of their Executive Board on the country that is reproduced here with our thanks to all.  Reading the above article in conjunction with the proposed one below can be very enlightening at a time where as reported by Reuters on this Monday morning that Oil prices dip as prospect of deeper OPEC output cut dims.

IMF Executive Board Concludes 2017 Article IV Consultation with Saudi Arabia

On July 17, 2017, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Article IV Consultation [1] with Saudi Arabia.

Non-oil growth is projected to pick up to 1.7 percent in 2017, but overall real GDP growth is expected to be close to zero as oil GDP declines in line with Saudi Arabia’s commitments under the OPEC+ agreement. Growth is expected to strengthen over the medium-term as structural reforms are implemented. Risks mainly come from uncertainties about future oil prices, as well as questions about how the ongoing reforms will affect the economy. Employment growth has weakened, and the unemployment rate among Saudi nationals has increased to 12.3 percent.

After increasing in early 2016 due to higher energy and water prices, CPI inflation has turned negative in recent months. It is, however, expected to increase over the next year due to the recently introduced excises taxes, further energy price reforms, and the introduction of the VAT at the beginning of 2018.

The fiscal deficit is projected to narrow substantially in the coming years. It is expected to decline from 17.2 percent of GDP in 2016 to 9.3 percent of GDP in 2017 and to just under 1 percent of GDP by 2022. This assumes that the major non-oil revenue reforms and energy price increases outlined in the Fiscal Balance Program are introduced on schedule and that operational and expenditure savings identified so far by the Bureau of Spending Rationalizations are realized. The deficit is expected to continue to be financed by a combination of asset drawdowns and domestic and international borrowing.

The current account balance is expected to move into a small surplus in 2017 as oil export revenues increase and import growth and remittance outflows remain relatively subdued. Net financial outflows are expected to continue, and SAMA’s NFA is projected to continue to decline, although it will remain at a comfortable level.

Credit and deposit growth are weak and are only expected to recover gradually. Interbank interest rates, which spiked higher during 2016, have fallen, and liquidity in the banking system is at adequate levels. Non-performing loans (NPLs) increased slightly to 1.4 percent, but remain low.

Saudi Arabia has embarked on a bold reform program under Vision 2030 that was announced in 2016. The authorities have made considerable progress in initiating the implementation of their ambitious reform agenda. Fiscal consolidation efforts are beginning to bear fruit, progress with reforms to improve the business environment are gaining momentum, and a framework to increase the transparency and accountability of government is largely in place. Effective prioritization, sequencing, and coordination of the reforms is essential, and they need to be well-communicated and equitable to gain social buy-in and ensure their success.

Please read more in the original document.

Chatham House is arranging for a webinar to be held on Tuesday July 25, 2017 between 10:00 and 10:30 BST

Vision 2030: Can Saudi Arabia Effectively Modernise?
With as Jane Kinninmont, Senior Research Fellow and Deputy Head, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House as a speaker.
OPEC, Trump and Gulf Papers trends in May

OPEC, Trump and Gulf Papers trends in May

It is under a title like this “How to get UAE residence visa for your parents in Dubai” in most of the GCC countries major papers that some sort of emigration appears to be underway or at least facilitated. After our daily review of the local press online; a clear OPEC, Trump and Gulf Papers trends in May was felt to be prevailing.

Trump’s Middle East visit could be decisive, says Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury or head of the Church of England last week to The Guardian.

At a time where low oil prices are persistently down and investments generally stagnating, expatriates employment figures though demonstrably kept very carefully away from direct sight, these papers are keen to providing answers to frequently asked questions like this “Do you want your parents to live with you in Dubai?”  With answers such as “Here’s what you need to do.”

Another subject that is keenly pursued by all newspapers editors is about items of news such as this particular one that is about Oman deciding lately to allow property purchase by non-nationals residents.  GCC and foreigners rights to own real estate in the GCC member countries have always been very heavily constrained and / or restricted to certain areas of well-defined urban territories, whereas these seem to be looked at little more liberally these days for the benefit of the expatriate workers.  Could such facilitation be allowed for any specific reason or is it just an operation for fishing wide and large for some kind of PR campaign.

Apart from wondering on the nature of the newspapers response to obviously a well felt demand for such as it were family reunion or gathering, it must be said that all this is happening whilst the rest of the Middle East is going through its most poignant phase in its millennia history.  Ironically it is at this conjecture that taxation will be introduced shortly starting in a few months making expats wonder whether they will be going to have to start paying taxes in the countries where we work.  Their immediate reaction is as for everywhere : does taxation mean representation.  These know that after all they have no political clout, no representation in municipal, regional, let alone national councils.

We have fished a typical rendering of this on-going thread of business as usual in Gulf News of May 16, 2017  citing their Source as being The official portal of Dubai Government .