DNA of an HR Leader examines the career paths of more than 300 senior HR professionals operating in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The report incorporates online survey results from 2016-2017 and includes Q&As with, and commentary from, six industry experts.

The HR professionals surveyed were asked about their educational backgrounds, qualifications, international experience, responsibilities, challenges, and personal aspirations. Below you'll find the key findings from the report, followed by the full report.

Key findings

  • Staff retention is the single biggest challenge facing HR leaders over the next 12 months.
  • Talent management and retention are the biggest areas of focus over the next two years. 
  • 22% of GCC-based HR leaders now sit on the boards of directors at their respective organisations - a growing trend in the region.
  • The majority of HR leaders are female (54%), aged between 30 and 45-years old.
  • Almost half (49%) have worked in other professions before switching to HR. 
  • Finance is considered the most important discipline for HR to partner with. 
  • Industry experts advise the new generation of leaders to gain cross-industry experience.

Find out more about Hays - Recruiting experts worldwide and its 'DNA' series uncovering what it takes to succeed in the GCC.

More on this topic

Thought leadership
Responsible business: Leading the way

A thought leadership and podcast series exploring how responsible business and leadership have changed since the pandemic

Thought leadership
Building responsible leadership for the future

We discuss how leading through crisis has shaped the way we address new challenges

Bitesize research
Leadership gender affects support provided for domestic abuse survivors

Workplace support for survivors of domestic abuse is more likely to be in place where female leaders are in decision-making positions

For Members
Thought leadership
The role of responsible business in tackling the climate crisis

Lessons on integrating sustainability into your organisation’s purpose

More reports

Menstruation and support at work

This report explores employees’ experiences of menstruation and menstrual health at work and details how employers can develop a supportive culture

Temporary page

sub title

People Profession 2023: International report

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

People Profession 2023: Asia-Pacific report

Insight into how global issues are impacting people professionals in Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore

See all reports