This report gives a snapshot of the current HR landscape in the Middle East and North Africa. We explore people professionals’ perceptions of the trends impacting their work, the challenges and opportunities these bring, and how they feel about their careers and working lives amidst these changes.

Against a backdrop of economic instability, advancing technology and new models of working, we explore how people professionals in Egypt, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are responding and adapting, and give recommendations on how practitioners can navigate the challenges they are facing.

This report forms part of our international research on the profession. In 2023, we surveyed people professionals in nine countries across the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and Asia-Pacific, to understand regional priorities, and the commonalities and contrasts that practitioners face across the world. Our series of reports also includes findings from separate research in Canada, carried out by the Chartered Professionals in Human Resources Canada (CPHR Canada), which give a comparative view of the opportunities and challenges faced by people professionals in this region.

By taking the pulse of the profession internationally, and building on our previous reports, our findings reflect the CIPD’s ongoing commitment to provide an informed view on how we can collaborate globally, develop professional capital within the industry and build HR functions that are future-fit across different regions and markets.

People Profession 2023: Middle East and North Africa survey report

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Key findings in the Middle East and North Africa

  • Workforce planning is a top priority in Egypt and upskilling, reskilling and building capability is the key focus in UAE and KSA. This may be in part due to nationalisation policies and targets in these countries, which aim to attract more Saudis and Emiratis into work. To facilitate this, identifying skills gaps and developing skills is crucial.
  • Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) is a key strategic area for businesses in KSA. A key enabler to making workplaces more inclusive is developing flexible working practices, which will help employees balance work and home life commitments.
  • In comparison to the international sample, MENA respondents, particularly in KSA and UAE, were significantly more likely to say that people management has become easier in a hybrid context. In fact, managing performance, attracting and retaining talent and ensuring good job quality were perceived particularly positively. However, there were mixed views on the impact on productivity, and some raised concerns over equality and fairness in implementing flexible working options.

Recommendations

  • Undertaking a workforce planning exercise will help people professionals better understand the organisation’s current skills against its future needs and what development is necessary for the current workforce to bridge any skills gaps. Be prepared to invest in developing potential new local talent to ensure they have the skills needed to join your organisation.
  • To support EDI, employers in this region should consider offering flexible working arrangements to attract a more diverse pool of talent, and ensure recruitment processes are inclusive to avoid missing out on good candidates. They should also try to learn from each other, sharing inclusive work practices with people professionals in the region and celebrating progress.
  • Offering hybrid arrangements is an attractive benefit that will make your business stand out as an employer of choice. Explore how flexible arrangements could be offered to roles that are traditionally viewed as less flexible.

People Profession 2023: Middle East and North Africa survey report

Download the report
PDF document 1٫1 MB

Read our international and other region-specific reports

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People Profession 2023: International report

Insight into how global issues are impacting people professionals in the UK, Ireland, Asia-Pacific, MENA and Canada

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People Profession 2023: UK and Ireland report

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People Profession 2023: Asia-Pacific report

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People Profession 2023: A Canadian perspective

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