Industry heavyweights focus on talent acquisition, retention

Hospitality leaders will offer their perspectives on key aspects such as workforce skills, finding and keeping talent, and attracting Emirati and Saudi nationals in the hospitality sector. File
Hospitality leaders will offer their perspectives on key aspects such as workforce skills, finding and keeping talent, and attracting Emirati and Saudi nationals in the hospitality sector. File
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Updated 24 September 2023

Industry heavyweights focus on talent acquisition, retention

Industry heavyweights focus on talent acquisition, retention

RIYADH: Talent acquisition, retention, and mentoring will be in the spotlight at the upcoming hospitality summit in the UAE as industry heavyweights gather to discuss the significance of investing in human resources and incorporate the concepts of environmental, social, and governance in the recruitment process.

The Future Hospitality Summit scheduled to be held on Sept. 25-27 at Hilton Yas Island in Abu Dhabi under the theme “Focus on Investment” will focus on the importance of prioritizing human capital investment, addressing talent shortage, recruiting, and retaining suitable workforce.

According to Mariam Al-Musharrekh, executive director of human resources at Miral — the summit’s host sponsor — recruitment retention, and development of talent are essential to meeting the increasing demand for sustainable, digitalized, and hyper-personalized guest experiences in the leisure, entertainment, and tourism industry.

“A heightened focus on attracting and retaining top talent, while cultivating and investing in their long-term growth and ensuring they have the best possible start to their careers will remain paramount for the growth of the industry,” Al-Musharrekh said.

“An organization’s workforce must be empowered to contribute meaningfully to sustainable practices by cultivating a culture of ethical governance, community engagement, and continuous learning,” she added.

Hospitality leaders will offer their perspectives on key aspects such as workforce skills, finding and keeping talent, and attracting Emirati and Saudi nationals in the hospitality sector.

As guest preferences continue to evolve and technology becomes more prominent in the hospitality industry, it’s essential to ensure that workforce skills stay current.

“The hospitality sector has gone through a revolution over the past few years through the integration of digital ecosystems within its operations. Following this revolution, recruitment, retention, and development remain a focal point for success within the industry, as hospitality professionals are key to driving hyper-personalized experiences,” Al-Musharrekh added.

“It requires passionate individuals who understand the delicate balance between technology and hospitality, and by dedicating more of our time and budgets toward mentorship programs, cross-training, and tailored development paths,” Dimitris Manikis, president of Wyndham Hotels and Resort in Europe and MEA, said in a statement.

Manikis said that increased investment is required in the recruitment and retention of individuals with the right qualifications and adaptability to meet the changing demands of the sector.

It involves supporting the upcoming generation and commencing from the foundational level. This entails collaborating with educational institutions such as schools and universities to establish internship initiatives that enable young talents to learn insights from industry experts and prepare for the future.

Paul Griep, director of Industry and Alumni Relations at Hotelschool The Hague, said: “I believe both education as well as the industry can make a true competitive difference by assessing which aspects of the hospitality journey can be resolved by technology and which aspects will need a more ‘human’ touch.” 

The Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia, is making record-level investments in the tourism and hospitality sector. It is estimated that by 2026, there will be a demand for nearly 100,000 well-trained hospitality experts.

“Over the last few years, we have seen notable transformations in recruitment and retention practices, with the shift attributed to various factors including technological advancements and changing market dynamics,” Al-Musharrekh commented.

She also added that recruitment has become more focused and personalized as a result of the use of data-driven methodologies, assisting in the discovery of more suitable individuals

Sunil John, president of ASDA’A Burson Cohn & Wolfe in the Middle East and North Africa, said that the hospitality sector has emerged as one of the top areas for creating new jobs, especially for the youth but added: “To attract regional talent, the hospitality sector must underline the growth opportunities it provides.”

“Typically, in the region, the hospitality sector has been dominated by expatriate professionals — and there is an urgent need to nurture and build robust career choices for nationals,” John continued.

Griep added that the industry has a chance to do this “right” this time, viewing the demand for 100,000 skilled professionals as both the most significant challenge and the “greatest” opportunity.

However, he said that “this may not be the most sustainable and/or ethical which will be accepted at a lesser extent by newer generations.”

“Saudi Arabia can be the ‘lab’ where an array of new techniques, approaches to talent, and recruitment can be tested in action,” Manikis said.

Attracting and retaining talent in the hospitality industry requires a holistic approach that addresses compensation, work-life balance, career development, workplace culture, and societal responsibility.

Jeroen Greven, the managing director of the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management, explained different approaches to attracting and retaining talents.

He said it is important to showcase “the unique opportunities and experiences” that the Middle East has to offer to attract potential candidates. Another approach, he added, is to increase collaboration with educational institutions to provide specialized hospitality programs.

Greven also added: “As the industry expands, a strategic mix of appealing incentives and employee-centric policies will remain central to securing and nurturing a skilled workforce.”

“Our approach to nurturing Arab youth talent involves forging partnerships with educational institutions, continuing to offer internships and mentorship programs, and remaining committed to creating an environment where young local talents can flourish and contribute meaningfully to the industry,” Manikis commented.

Moreover, ensuring the development of talent in a responsible ESG-driven environment is also important to ensure sustainable growth of the industry. Greven added: “Start by incorporating sustainability modules into training programs to raise awareness and foster a culture of responsible practices through continuous education on environmental and social issues.”

This can also be done by implementing mentorship programs where seasoned professionals guide talent in ESG considerations.

In May, the summit was held in Riyadh under the theme “Invest in Change,” as it emphasized the importance of the positive change that can be brought about by investing in time, intellect, and experience to keep up with the changing times and trends.

The summit focused on creating job opportunities for young Saudis by fostering the development of a skilled and talented workforce for the hospitality sector.

Saudi crown prince launches urban plan, branding for Qiddiya

Saudi crown prince launches urban plan, branding for Qiddiya
Updated 48 min 55 sec ago

Saudi crown prince launches urban plan, branding for Qiddiya

Saudi crown prince launches urban plan, branding for Qiddiya
  • Qiddiya City is expected to create over 325,000 jobs
  • Prince Mohammed: Qiddiya to become foremost global entertainment, sports, culture destination

RIYADH: Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammad bin Salman launched on Thursday the urban design for the Qiddiya City and Qiddiya’s international trade brand, Saudi Press Agency reported.

Qiddiya City is expected to create over 325,000 jobs, yielding nominal GDP of SR135 billion ($36 billion) per annum, the report added.

The crown prince said on completion Qiddiya would become the foremost global entertainment, sports, and culture destination.

“This will have a positive impact on the Kingdom's economy and its international standing, as well as on enhancing Riyadh’s strategic position and contributing to its economic growth. It aims to improve the quality of life, making Riyadh one of the top 10 economies globally,” he said.

Prince Mohammed added that the investment into Qiddiya was a cornerstone of the Saudi Vision 2030, which aims to diversify the Kingdom’s economy, creating thousands of job opportunities for the ambitious Saudi youth.

Closing Bell: TASI ends green at 11,225 points with $1.62bn trading volume 

Closing Bell: TASI ends green at 11,225 points with $1.62bn trading volume 
Updated 07 December 2023

Closing Bell: TASI ends green at 11,225 points with $1.62bn trading volume 

Closing Bell: TASI ends green at 11,225 points with $1.62bn trading volume 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index experienced a slight rise on Thursday, gaining 51.33 points, or 0.46 percent, to close at 11,225.35.   

The benchmark index saw a total trading turnover of SR6.1 billion ($1.62 billion), with 107 listed stocks advancing and 107 retreating.  

Moreover, the parallel market Nomu witnessed an increase of 399.17 points, or 1.70 percent, to end the day at 23,949. The market had 24 listed stocks advancing and 31 retreating.  

The MSCI Tadawul Index also saw an increase, inching up by 4.56 points, or 0.32 percent, to close at 1,439.56.  

TASI’s top performer was Development Works Food Co., which saw its share price surge by 9.92 percent to SR135.20.   

Other significant gainers included Al-Omran Industrial Trading Co. and National Agricultural Development Co., with their share prices rising by 7.99 percent and 5.66 percent to SR37.85 and SR28, respectively. Leejam Sports Co. and ACWA Power Co. also reported strong performances.  

Conversely, Al-Baha Investment and Development Co. experienced a decline, with its share price dropping by 6.67 percent to SR0.14.   

Taiba Investments Co. and Savola Group also faced downturns, with their share prices decreasing by 5.35 percent and 3.38 percent to SR25.65 and SR38.55, respectively. Arabian Pipes Co. and Saudi Reinsurance Co. were among the day’s worst performers.  

On the announcement front, Riyadh Cables Group Co. has completed the second phase of its share buyback program, designed to support its long-term employee stock incentive program.   

The buyback, which occurred between Oct. 31 and Nov. 30, 2023, saw the repurchase of 252,500 shares, amounting to SR18.89 million, at an average price of SR74.82 per share, as per the company’s announcement to Tadawul.  

This step is part of a 12-month plan that commenced following approval at the company’s extraordinary general meeting.

Following this phase, Riyadh Cables’ treasury now holds 282,500 shares, acquired at an average price of SR74.68 each.  

The company has indicated that this buyback process is not expected to have a significant impact on its financial results. This move aligns with Riyadh Cables’ strategy to invest in its workforce while ensuring the company’s continued financial stability and growth.  

Saudi-Vietnamese Joint Committee explores ways to boost trade

Saudi-Vietnamese Joint Committee explores ways to boost trade
Updated 07 December 2023

Saudi-Vietnamese Joint Committee explores ways to boost trade

Saudi-Vietnamese Joint Committee explores ways to boost trade

RIYADH: Trade exchange between Saudi Arabia and Vietnam is on course to prosper following discussions in a ministerial meeting.  

The fifth Saudi-Vietnamese Joint Committee, taking place in the Asian country’s capital of Hanoi, saw the participation of the Kingdom’s Assistant Deputy Minister for Mining Enablement Abdulaziz Al-Ahmadi, Vietnam’s Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Phan Thi Thang, as well as joint representatives from several government agencies.  

During the meeting, the two nations reviewed the trade volume between them and expressed their intent to enhance it, broadening the range of exchanged products.  

This aligns with both countries’ efforts in recent years to bolster economic and trade relations.  

During the talk, the officials also discussed implementing support initiatives to facilitate trade exchange by encouraging the exchange of trade missions and participating in the economic activities held in the two countries.

The meeting also shed light on ways to enhance relations and common interests in accordance with the economic, scientific, and technical cooperation agreement concluded in Hanoi on May 25, 2006.

Additionally, both sides discussed increasing the volume of investments in priority sectors between them and elevating partnerships in trade, exports, and investments.

As the assembly concluded, both nations pledged to continue working to develop bilateral cooperation in key areas, including foreign relations, trade, energy, and industry.

Additional sectors included investment, finance, development support, health, as well as education, training, human resources development, media, and justice.

Other areas of interest entailed culture and tourism, security and defense, science, technology and innovation, among others.

The Kingdom is a significant market for Vietnam and a vital partner in the Middle East and Africa.

The region’s exports to the Asian country during 2022 included plastic products, mineral products, and organic chemicals. They also entailed animal food and fish meat preparations.  

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s imports from Vietnam included electrical appliances, equipment and their parts, and metal products. They also included copper and its products, shoes, machinery and tools.    

The Saudi-Vietnamese Joint Committee was established in 2006 to promote cooperation across various sectors for mutual development.

Central Bank of UAE’s assets rise 1.3% to $1.08tn

Central Bank of UAE’s assets rise 1.3% to $1.08tn
Updated 07 December 2023

Central Bank of UAE’s assets rise 1.3% to $1.08tn

Central Bank of UAE’s assets rise 1.3% to $1.08tn

RIYADH: Total assets held by the Central Bank of UAE rose to $3.95 trillion dirhams ($1.08 trillion) by the end of September 2023, representing a 1.3 percent increase compared to the previous month.

According to CBUAE’s statistical monthly bulletin, this growth in assets was complemented by a 1.4 percent rise in the volume of bank credit, which went from 1.95 trillion dirhams at the end of August to 1.98 trillion dirhams at the end of September.

CBUAE revealed that the surge in bank credit in September was driven by a significant 7.3 percent surge in foreign credit and a modest 0.7 percent increase in domestic credit.

According to the central bank, the domestic credit increase was attributed to a 3.3 percent increase in the public sector, 3.8 percent in non-financial institutions, and a 0.2 percent increase in the private sector.

The report added that banking deposits hit 2.42 trillion by the end of September, representing a rise of 0.7 percent compared to August.

“The growth in total bank deposits was due to an increase in resident deposits by 1.8 percent, overshadowing the reduction in non-resident by 10.1 percent,” said CBUAE in the report.  

Additionally, CBUAE said the monetary base expanded by 0.4 percent from 595.1 billion dirhams in August to 597.3 billion dirhams by the end of September. The expansion included a 0.5 percent increase in issued currency and a significant 13.1 percent rise in the reserve account.

CBUAE added that the overall money supply indicators also witnessed growth in September. M1, which signifies the most liquid form of money, observed a rise of 2.2 percent to 795.5 billion dirhams in September compared to August, while M2, which includes M1 and also less liquid short-term time deposits, grew by 2.6 percent to 1.90 trillion dirhams during the same period.

M3, which comprises M2 and includes less liquid assets and large time deposits, grew by 1.6 percent month-on-month to 2.35 trillion in September.

Earlier this month, CBUAE and Bank Indonesia signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at expanding cooperation across various sectors.

The MoU entails the extension of the already established framework of cooperation between both central banks, which seeks to strengthen their relationship, enhance information exchange, and collaborate across various areas.

Turkish banks secure $40m Murabaha deal with ITFC to boost private sector financing  

Turkish banks secure $40m Murabaha deal with ITFC to boost private sector financing  
Updated 07 December 2023

Turkish banks secure $40m Murabaha deal with ITFC to boost private sector financing  

Turkish banks secure $40m Murabaha deal with ITFC to boost private sector financing  

RIYADH: Turkiye’s private sector is poised to benefit from Murabaha financing, with two of the country’s banks signing a total funding deal of $40 million with the International Islamic Trade Finance Corp.      

ITFC, a member of the Islamic Development Bank Group, has announced the completion of two Murabaha financing deals valued at $20 million each with Vakif Katilim Bank and Ziraat Katilim Bank, the Saudi Press Agency reported.    

Signed during the 39th session of the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation, the agreement specifies that the funds will be directed toward supporting private sector clients and small and medium enterprises served by the two banks to meet their trade financing requirements.   

Murabaha, an Islamic financing structure, operates as a sales contract wherein the price of goods or items is determined based on customer requirements, including a pre-agreed profit margin.    

This initiative aligns with ITFC’s mission to promote sustainable economic development in member countries, and the corporation’s CEO Hani Salem Sonbol explained that these new deals represent a crucial step in enhancing commercial and economic activities, fostering further growth in the country’s private sector. 

Additionally, they will play a pivotal role in promoting sustainable development and prosperity for the private sector and SMEs in the country, Sonbol stressed.   

Solar project in Senegal 

In another development, Senegal is set to install up to 50,000 solar streetlights in rural areas, thanks to a new agreement signed by the Islamic Corp. for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit. 

The IsDB member announced a project financing worth €103 million ($111 million) in cooperation with Standard Chartered Bank for Senegal’s Ministry of Finance to purchase and install solar streetlights.  

This initiative aligns with the country’s pursuit of green renewable energy goals, coinciding with the climate conference held in Dubai.  

“Our cooperation for a solar street lighting project in Senegal is a testament to our commitment to sustainable development in our member states and stimulating economic growth in rural areas in line with the sustainable development goals,” said Oussama Kaissi, CEO of the ICIEC. 

The project aims to utilize solar energy for street lighting in rural areas of Senegal, enhancing the quality of life dependent on continuous access to energy and promoting economic growth. 

“This loan is the first green loan to adopt environmentally friendly energy practices provided by the bank to Senegal, which in turn will improve the lives of local communities while supporting the climate goals of the Senegalese government,” said Sunil Kaushal, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank in Africa and the Middle East. 

From an environmental standpoint, the project relies on adopting environmentally friendly energy practices to reduce carbon emissions.