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Better training, incentives for private sector top solutions for Nationalization in the GCC

Posted by Reem Boudraa May 12, 2013 0 Comment

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Localizing jobs has been a long-term goal for many GCC countries for years now, but efforts are accelerating. For decades, countries in the Gulf region have been relying heavily on expatriates to underpin their booming economies. However, this reliance is slowly being cut back and several countries have started to introduce policies aimed at controlling the influx of expatriates and increasing employment opportunities for nationals.

In its latest poll entitled “Nationalization in the GCC” (May 2013), researches the extent to which nationalization efforts are being carried out in the GCC, as well as the main challenges that these efforts are facing. The study also clarifies some myths that surround the employment of nationals. Finally, the study suggests a number of solutions to promote the employment of nationals across various career levels and industries.

How effective are localization policies in the GCC?


When asked whether they believe that the current workplace localization policies in their country are effective or not, half of polled professionals think that they are effective. On the other hand, 30% claimed that localization policies are not effective and more could be done to improve the hiring of local talent.

How well supported are nationals by their governments?

Gov support








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, as shown in’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,’s “Nationalization in the GCC” poll has revealed that sentiment suggests that 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% of respondents, with only a quarter (26%) 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%) and are promoted faster (11%). Only 11% believe that local talents are paid less than their expat counterparts.










However, we have seen companies reluctant in employing nationals for a variety of reasons. The biggest issues relating to hiring local talent are perceptions that they may want fewer hours or more pay (39%); perceptions they may be relatively less competitive when it comes to training and experience (14.5%); as well as perceptions that they may favor a select few limited industries for employment purposes (10%).











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%); if there were better coordination between the government and the private sector (22%); or if there were better incentives for the private sector from the government (16%); and better coordination between educational institutes and companies (15%).

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%) feel it is easy for employers to source national talent.










Over a third of the poll’s respondents (36%) believe that the best way to find national talent is through dedicated regional jobsites like Social media is also a popular method for finding national employees (24%), as are university career fairs (12.3%). On the other hand, newspaper ads (7%), alumni centers (6%) and local job fairs (7%), as well as some of the dedicated local government sites are seen to be relatively less effective for discovering local talent.

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 labor, 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.’s online recruitment platform has facilitated the entire process of meeting nationalization objectives and targets pan-industrially by making it faster, easier and more efficient to source top national talent across career levels. liaises very closely with the GCC’s top universities and employers alike to ensure its recruitment platform readily accommodates local nationalization recruitment targets, from the internship and fresh graduate stage through to mid-management and senior managerial level roles and requirements. offers full-fledged solutions for Emiratization, Saudization and Kuwaitization.

For more stats, view the full “Nationalization in the GCC” poll.

(Photo credit: Stephan Geyer on Flickr)

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About Reem Boudraa

Reem Boudraa is the Senior Editor at

View all post by Reem Boudraa

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