The UAE is living up to its image of being a hub for 'Connecting Minds' as it has bagged the top spot in a latest research conducted by Dubai Knowledge Park and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the world's largest HR professional society.
The 'Emerging HR Hubs - Regional Trends in Internationalisation and HR Mobility' survey was unveiled at HR Summit and Expo 2017 in Dubai on Wednesday. The joint study aimed to identify global HR trends and emerging HR hubs, and gauge the expansion and risk appetites of HR organisations.
Brad Boyson, executive director of SHRM Mena, said: "A sustainable, knowledge-based economy cannot be created without world-class people practices. A profound takeaway from this survey is the degree of confidence that HR stakeholders from around the world have in the potential of the UAE to become not just a regional hub of HR excellence but a global leader in the field."
The online survey collected responses from 835 employees of HR companies from 27 countries across Europe, the GCC region and Asia. The research found that the UAE tops the list of emerging HR hubs by an overwhelming margin, outranking established markets such as Singapore and Malaysia. Meanwhile, the respondents consider the USA to be the unequivocal global leader in innovative HR practices, followed by the UK, Canada and Australia. In terms of emerging markets, the UAE is the prime contender, outweighing countries such as Singapore, India and Finland.
"The talks over the last few days here at HR Summit really have shown that Middle Eastern companies truly operate on a global level when it comes to their human resource activities. Government organisations and enterprises here really do drive human capital best practice, implement the latest HR technologies available and importantly innovate international practices to make them truly relevant and beneficial to the unique labour market resident in the Gulf region. Our conversations have continually been brought back to the themes of increased automation, multi-cultural workspace, more focus on all-round employee wellness and the ever-critical need to innovate, and we really expect these to be the big trends we'll see in HR teams regionally in 2018," said Hoda Abdelhay, Show Director, HR Summit & Expo.
The survey has brought to light the importance of networking, with respondents selecting the USA as the top destination for potential networking opportunities in HR, with the UAE coming second, ahead of the UK, Europe, Canada and Australia. The respondents also rank the UAE as the third most preferred destination for attending international HR events, followed once again by the UK, Europe, Canada and Australia. In addition, the UAE was by far the favourite emerging market for a professional delegation tour, followed by China, India, South Africa and Malaysia.
Mohammad Abdullah, managing director of Dubai Knowledge Park, said: "In an era where industry disruption is pervasive and businesses are constantly challenged to reinvent themselves, the HR function is a key enabler in attracting, developing and retaining quality human capital. HR professionals play a critical role in supporting business transformation with the appropriate structure, culture and capabilities whilst encouraging companies to adopt progressive people practices. In building on the success of our collaborative efforts to boost the HR sector in the UAE, we look forward to spearheading the next phase of the country's human capital development journey."
Another notable finding concerns the ease of setting up business. While the surveyed professionals have identified the USA as the easiest location to set up and operate an HR organisation, with Canada and the UK placing second and third respectively, the UAE ranks fourth - and first amongst emerging markets - ahead of Australia, Europe and Singapore.
The UAE also takes fourth place among the best locations for an HR organisation to expand internationally, outranking established HR hubs such as the USA and Australia, with Europe, Canada and the UK amongst the top three.
Abbas Ali, senior vice-president, Tasc Outsourcing, said: "UAE is emerging as the HR Hub if anyone was present in the HR expo which got concluded on Wednesday and the depth of solutions exhibited demonstrates the innovative quotient in the region. The trends are technology orientation; you would see a lot of automation in HR processes, small to mid-size companies are also looking at moving their on boarding and all HR processes including employee self-service and performance management on a technology platform. The hiring trend in H1 2018 will be dominated by E-commerce, logistics, and technology related jobs specially in digital transformations."