The winners of the 2023 Middle East People Awards were unveiled at the CIPD’s annual gala dinner in Dubai on 7 December. The awards recognised individuals, teams and organisations across eleven categories for their outstanding people management and development achievements. The judging panel of independent consultants, global experts and HR practitioners reviewed over 130 entries this year, ranking them against innovation, alignment with the business, impact, and relevance.

“This year marked a record number of submissions, showcasing impressive quality. While celebrating our winners, it's crucial to acknowledge the finalists' excellent work, each presenting innovative stories in alignment with CIPD's mission for better work and working lives.”

Stuart Dunlop, Regional Director, CIPD

As Gulf countries continue to drive their nationalisation agendas in support of economic diversification, the CIPD introduced the Nationalisation Award to recognise the positive initiatives being rolled out in support of this. The winners, Emirates Group, impressed the judges with their focus on building Emirati talent through their whole sourcing cycle of candidates, from high school to post-graduate scholarship, focusing on first recruiting Emirati nationals for all their open positions at all levels.  

For embodying the People First approach with an initiative that impacted over 15,000 employees and championing the holistic wellbeing of all, The Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority (ZATCA) took the trophy of the People Team of the Year. 

stc Group won the best HR, OD & L&D Consultancy Award for innovatively implementing an AI-powered graduate development programme for the Saudi Ministry of Defence. Their approach boosted applications, cut costs, and expedited the selection of the candidates, widening access to the Ministry of Defence graduate scheme. 

Faye Truin was named Rising Star of the People Profession in recognition of her efforts to set herself apart in her professional journey by making meaningful impact and contributing to the growth of Food People, a start-up specialist recruitment firm for the food industry. 

For putting its people at the heart of the business and implementing practices that result in a productive, engaged and motivated workforce, Bupa Arabia was named Employer of the Year. 

Here is the full list of winners:

Best Change Management Initiative 

Winner: National Bank of Fujairah 

Best Employee Engagement Initiative 

Winner: Bupa Arabia  

Best Learning and Development Programme 

Winner: Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) 

Most Impactful Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Initiative 

Winner: National Central Cooling Company (Tabreed) 

Best HR Leadership Development Programme 

Winner: stc Group 

Best Recruitment and Talent Management Strategy 

Winner: Savola Foods Company 

Best HR/L&D and OD Consultancy 

Winner: Ministry of Defence / stc Group - Fakhoor programme  

Rising Star of the People Profession 

Winner: Faye Truin 

Best Nationalisation Initiative 

Winner: The Emirates Group 

People Team of the Year  

Winner: ZATCA (The Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority) 

Employer of the Year 

Winner: Bupa Arabia

Explore our related content

For organisations

At the CIPD, we are uniquely placed to help you future-proof your organisation by addressing your fundamental people challenges.

Connect with our team in the Middle East and North Africa

Join with us in championing better work and working lives across the Middle East

Explore all our views and insights

Championing better work and working lives

the CIPD

At the CIPD, we champion better work and working lives. We help organisations to thrive by focusing on their people, supporting economies and society for the future. We lead debate as the voice for everyone wanting a better world of work. 

Callout Image