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Gulf nationalisation policies bearing fruit.

For decades, GCC has been relying heavily on expats to underpin its booming economies. However, this trend is slowly changing with several countries introducing policies aimed at controlling the influx of expats and creating more jobs for nationals, according to a study.

Localizing jobs has been a long-term goal for many GCC countries for years now, but efforts are accelerating, said leading job site, which recently conducted a survey to probe the main challenges being faced by governments in their nationalisation efforts. through its "Nationalization in the GCC" survey sought to understand the extent to which nationalization efforts were being carried out in the GCC.

The study clarified some myths that surround the employment of nationals and also suggested a number of solutions to promote the employment of nationals across various career levels and industries. The survey tackled several key issues such as:

How effective are localization policies in the GCC?

Majority of the professionals (50 per cent) who took part in the survey believed that the current workplace localization policies in their countries were effective, while 30 per cent said it was ineffective and more could be done to improve the hiring of local talent.

How well supported are nationals by their governments?

It has long been known that GCC nationals prefer working in the government or public sector. There are many reasons that professionals would choose to work for the public sector, depending on their needs and priorities, according to's "Top Industries Survey" (December 2012).

The government is perceived to offer higher salaries, shorter working hours and more flexibility in hours, but also better working conditions and non-monetary benefits.

In terms of support given to nationals by their governments, the survey revealed that majority of GCC residents feel that nationals are given generous support by their governments.

In fact, according to the poll, the general perception is that national citizens are given "very much support" by the government as far as job search is concerned as stated by 42 per cent of respondents, with only a quarter (26 per cent) claiming that nationals receive no support.

Who's better paid and promoted: Expats or nationals?

When compared to expatriates, respondents believe that national citizens receive better pay (46 per cent) and are promoted faster (11 per cent). Only 11 per cent believe that local talents are paid less than their expat counterparts.

However, the survey found that several companies were reluctant in employing nationals for a variety of reasons.

The biggest issues relating to hiring locals were perceptions that they may want fewer hours or more pay (39 per cent); they may be relatively less competitive when it comes to training and experience (14.5 per cent); as well as that they may favour a select few limited industries for employment purposes (10 per cent).

When asked about possible solutions to alleviate the nationalization problems, respondents feel that hiring levels for national talents could be improved if nationals had access to better educational and vocational training facilities (24 per cent); if there were better co-ordination between the government and the private sector (22 per cent); or if there were better incentives for the private sector from the government (16 per cent); and better co-ordination between educational institutes and companies (15 per cent).

What are the best ways to source and hire local talent?

With regards to talent availability and ease of sourcing and hiring, almost half of the respondents (52 per cent) feel it is easy for employers to source national talent.

Over a third of respondents in the Nationalization in the GCC poll (36 per cent) believed that the best way to find national talent was through dedicated regional jobsites like Social media is also a popular method for finding national employees (24 per cent), as are university career fairs (12.3 per cent), they stated.

On the other hand, newspaper ads (7 per cent), alumni centers (6 per cent) and local job fairs (7 per cent), as well as some of the dedicated local government sites are seen to be relatively less effective for discovering local talent, according to the survey.

The Gulf countries have witnessed a rapid rise in the economic prosperity and improvement of the quality of life for their citizens. Due to initial shortages in labour, foreign workers were brought to help build the economies of the GCC countries.

However, with the pressing need to employ a new generation of citizens who's educated and ready to be employed in every industry, "nationalization" or "localization" programs were put in place to replace expatriates and create new employment opportunities for nationals, it added.-TradeArabia News Service

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Publication:TradeArabia (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Feb 11, 2014
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