UAE Ranks Number 1 Among Next Emerging HR Hubs


The Human Resources (HR) industry is undergoing many changes. Technology is changing society and transforming the workplace at an unfrequented pace. All economies, not just the emerging ones, are looking to innovate their HR to continue staying at the top and keep their enterprises as industry leaders. Amidst all this change, it looks as if UAE is emerging as the world’s top HR hub.

UAE has been recognised as an upcoming HR hub in a recent study exploring the industry and its key players. The study, conducted by the Dubai Knowledge Park (DKP) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), paints an interesting picture of this emerging powerhouse. The future of HR looks bright and full of innovation to keep up with the challenges our workplaces are facing.

The findings of the study

The survey examined a total of 835 employees in a range of HR companies across 27 countries. The HR companies were operating across the GCC region, Europe and Asia, providing a varied look of HR expertise.

According to the survey, UAE ranks first among the emerging HR hubs and as the second best destination for potential networking opportunities. In this category, the region loses out only to the USA. The high rank as a networking hub doesn’t come as a surprise considering the country’s workplaces tend to be highly diverse and many companies have an international focus right from the get-go.

Furthermore, the study shows UAE come third as the preferred destination to operate an HR organisation. A number of today’s small business HR software providers and service operators come from the region. As an example, Bayzat has been attracting attention in the world of innovative and comprehensive HR solutions and it operates in the region.

Overall, the region also ranks high as an easy location to operate an HR organisation as well as a good place for international expansion. The region was picked as the favourite emerging market for professional delegation tour and a place where HR professionals can learn a great deal.

DKP Managing Director Mohammad Abdullah was quoted commenting on the findings by stating that, “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”.

Responding to small business needs

A big reason for the high ranking is naturally the demand for HR solutions. The region is quickly turning into an entrepreneurial hotbed, with new small businesses popping up in a range of fields. The local government is supportive of this trend, as it wants the region to diversify its economic base. Currently, the country’s small and medium-sized enterprises contribute over 60% of the region’s GDP, making up around 42% of the workforce.

As small business numbers increase, their need for things like small business HR software and services grows as well. Importantly, although many companies are looking for global HR technologies, there is still a preference for local solutions. That is partly driven by the diverse and unique nature of the UAE workplace. For this reason, the small business HR software in use here must meet the challenges of the region’s enterprises – something that helps drive HR expertise.

Focus on creating a world-class education system

As an effort to cater to the growing small business needs, the HR sector needs to pay close attention to the education sector. In fact, one of the findings of the DKP and SHRM study was the importance of access to qualified and skilled talent.

In order to maintain its role as an HR hub, the region has to continue its efforts to develop the educational system. Already, the country is one of the leaders in creating guidelines to best HR practices and developing not only existing professionals but also those of the future. One of the interesting developments within the industry is the call for more competency-based testing and this could well become the norm within the HR sector.

Innovative sector looking forward to future

Overall, the recent results in the DKP and SHRM study and the continued growth of the sector in UAE bode well for future. The HR industry in the region is not stagnating but innovating at a high pace. Companies such as Bayzat are refining and launching their products, which continues to mean the sector as a whole is developing and moving forward.

The positive recognition within and outside of the UAE will continue to draw attention to the region’s HR industry. This kind of heightened focus should be considered a positive. It allows the region’s big players to share their expertise with the rest of the world, cementing UAE as one of the frontrunners to solve big HR problems of our time.