The Power of Nationalization

GCC countries today are facing workforce imbalances creating the need to train their own nationals to be the forefront of all sectors.

Nationalization is a topic of rising importance. Over the last few years, the oil windfall and associated strong economic growth have enabled GCC economies to achieve significant and far-reaching success, an example of which is the notable increase in the number of new job opportunities for both Gulf nationals and expatriates. In broad terms, GCC countries succeeded in reducing their corresponding unemployment rates and increasing the labor participation rate among nationals despite the rapid growth in their labor forces.

The number of employed in the Gulf reached almost 14 million by end 2008, of which 18% are nationals. With a still large number unemployed nationals in the GCC countries due to the strong correlation between economic dependence on oil and the poor condition of knowledge acquisition, the mismatch between growing national workforce number and work availability is evident itself in steadily increasing unemployment rates.

Cultural perceptions also act as barriers for entry of locals into the non-skilled labor market. Policy makers have tried to nationalize their workforce through increased restrictions on work permits for expatriates and the use of hiring subsidies for nationals. These efforts are addressed where strong pressures on labor markets have led to rising unemployment among nationals.

Employment dichotomy is best explained by distinguishing between the job markets for skilled and non-skilled workers and examining the different barriers that local workers face when seeking employment.

Nationalization is fueling education and active engagement.

As a result policymakers partnered along with management consultancy firms focusing on human resources devised a strategic plan to create employment opportunities for nationals, capitalizing on upgrading skills of nationals through internships, training and development support programs, introducing a minimum target on employment of skilled and semi skilled workers among others.

Our contribution and commitment in support of the nationalization has been exemplary. This has been displayed through upgrading the key competency skills of nationals by developing specific, in-depth and extensive training programs at all levels aimed at both government and private sectors to reduce reliance on foreign labor and ability to rely on motivation to reform.

A significant effect will foster upon unlocking the power of nationalization which will contribute economically and socially to the success of every GCC member country.