The UAE has significantly outranked Singapore, Malaysia and Finland, among other countries, as the most promising emerging HR hub, according to the findings of a new study.

Conducted by Dubai Knowledge Park (DKP) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the findings of the Emerging HR Hubs Regional Trends in Internationalisation and HR Mobility survey were revealed at the recent HR Summit and Expo 2017 in Dubai.

Responses were collected from 835 employees of HR organisations from 27 countries across Europe, the GCC region and Asia, with the aim of gauging the expansion and risk appetites of these organisations.

According to the study, the primary factor that positions a market as an HR hub is the availability of qualified and skilled talent, supported by universities generating world-class graduates.

The UAE was also perceived positively in terms of the ease of setting up and operating an HR organisation, rated fourth globally after the USA, Canada and the UK, and first among emerging markets.

HR professionals surveyed noted several other factors that contributed to the UAE’s success in this area – market stability, reputation of organisations, and cultural diversity. These factors attract outside investors and organisations to come and set up, according to those questioned. However, the ease of setting up a business, and the cost, were seen by respondents to be of the lowest importance.

Bilaal Issack Chattaroo, an HR generalist at a UAE-based organisation, said he believed that in the last 10 years the HR profession in the UAE had changed from being a marginal, function to an acknowledged contributor to organisations’ strategic operations.

However, Chattaroo felt that HR professionals struggled to gain credibility as HRM is more widely seen as transactional and is not yet recognised as an essential function within organisations. “In terms of the global trend of HR getting its seat in the boardroom, the UAE is lagging behind,” he said.

The UAE also proved an attractive destination for organisations looking to expand internationally, as it ranked fourth, beating established HR hubs such as the USA and Australia, with Europe, Canada and the UK among the top three.

The country ranked as the second-best destination for networking opportunities, ahead of the UK, Europe, Canada and Australia. It was also favoured as one of the world’s best places to attend an international HR event – third after the USA and UK.

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