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Emiratisation in CX is natural call for this Dubai BPO

Data Direct Group urges UAE private sector to hire more local talent



Dubai-based leading BPO organisation Data Direct Group has urged the UAE’s private sector to follow the recent guidelines established by country’s Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) and hire more local talent to boost Emirati employment rates.

The Ministry earlier this month announced that around 79,000 UAE nationals were working in the private sector. In September 2022, UAE’s authorities set out quotas for hiring Emiratis for the first time and gave private companies deadlines to reach them.

Private sector companies with at least 50 employees needed to ensure 3 per cent of their workforce was made up of Emiratis by July 7. Four days later on July 11, MoHRE announced a new update to the rules, whereby private companies with 20 to 49 employees are now included in the government’s Emiratisation drive with the new rules now applicable to companies across 14 economic sectors including property, education, construction and health care.

“This is the time to infuse the current market with a great new talent pool that is homegrown and localised. Emirati employment rate is projected to increase to 10 per cent in 2026 with a steady growth every year and it is the time for private businesses of the country to step up by reaching targets laid down by the MoHRE,” said Rajiv Dalmia, the chairman and founder of Data Direct Group that today employs close to 1,500 professionals from over 25 nationalities working in four countries.

“We achieved outstanding results in going beyond to fulfill the government’s targets for hiring Emirati talent. A major part of that success is due to the fact that Emiratisation has always been a part of our role to keep local clients happy while enhancing the customer experience.”

Rajiv Dalmia

As part of the company’s commitment to support the nation’s vision and foster local talent, Data Direct been implementing strategic initiatives since the company’s inception in 2002, and much before the UAE government started ‘customer happiness centres’ across the country to serve the local population. An internal audit by DDG after the first half of 2023 has shown staff representation among Emiratis at nearly 5-7 times the minimum required, especially in certain departments.

“We do not see Emiratisation as a minimum quota to achieve just for the sake of representation,” added Dalmia. “The more the merrier, and there is a constant endeavour to seek out local talent first before we look at other options.”

Elaborating on the MoHRE data, recruitment consultancy Qureos has said sectors such as business services (14% growth year on year), construction (13%), and commerce and repair services (10%) are among the new frontrunners in Emirati hiring, coming neck-to-neck with the traditional BFSI (banking, financial services and insurance) sector. Data Direct serves many clients in the services and banking sector.

Qureos data also suggests a massive 75% increase in college enrolment for banking studies. The graduates are due to be incorporated in the near future where the HR departments of companies such as Data Direct stand to benefit. “Employees within our team setup and familiar with the work culture at Data Direct Group provide good referrals to future employees. References are our best sources for talent,” said Nona Sharma, HR head at DDG.

“The accomplishment in surpassing Emiratisation targets is a testament to our commitment to the UAE’s socio-economic growth and vision for a prosperous future. By empowering local talent, we also strengthen our own organisational capabilities.”

DDG has been working with many government entities to enhance the customer experience during interactions. Meanwhile, the rise of Gulf countries’ economies has also seen a surge in hiring local talent. “A collaboration with Talabat in Bahrain, for instance, has happened due to our track record on this and their requirements to keep 100% staff local. In Oman, it is 80% of our strength while the highly cosmopolitan nature of UAE means we have about 35-40 locals who cater to clients, including key government agencies. Having talented local colleagues is not tokenism for us. They are, in fact, the guiding light for us in many cases,” Dalmia added.



Saudi spending in transfer window second only to Premier League




Saudi Pro League (SPL) clubs have splurged $957 million on players in the close season transfer window, according to analysis from Deloitte published on Friday.

Saudi clubs’ spend in the transfer window, which closed on September 7, exceeded the spending of four of Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues with only the Premier League ahead of the Middle Eastern nation.

“This marks the first time since 2016 that another international league has outspent any of Europe’s ‘big five’ during a football transfer window…,” said Izzy Wray of Deloitte’s Sports Business Group.

“European football continues to be the benchmark for the game globally, and the Saudi investment in the game will divert its focus towards the infrastructure, to elevate the level of Asian football.”

Earlier this year, the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) announced a Sports Clubs Investment and Privatization Project involving the league champions Al-Ittihad, Al-Ahli, Al-Nassr and Al-Hilal, with a host of top players moving to the league.

PIF own 75 per cent of each of the four clubs, while their respective non-profit foundations own 25 per cent of each.

This window’s biggest transfer move came from the most successful club in Saudi Arabia, Al-Hilal, who spent 90 million euros to bring in Brazil star Neymar from Paris St Germain.

In addition to Neymar, Al-Hilal also spent big money to sign Aleksandar Mitrovic, Kalidou Koulibaly, Ruben Neves and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.

Saudi Pro League champions Al-Ittihad signed Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante and Fabinho, while Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr splashed out on Otavio, Sadio Mane, Aymeric Laporte, Marcelo Brozovic and Alex Telles.

Al-Ahli, who returned to the Pro League following a season in the second division, also completed a string of signings including Gabri Veiga, Riyad Mahrez, Roberto Firmino, Edouard Mendy, Alain Saint-Maximin and Merih Demiral.

“The implementation of the Kingdom’s privatisation programme is likely to draw a wave of interest around the SPL, potentially fueling the current spending pattern for the windows to come,” Wray said.

“With the spending power of the SPL already surpassing some of Europe’s ‘big five’, it remains to be seen the impact this will have on the make-up of elite football for future generations.”

For all its expenditure, the SPL still missed out on some of its biggest targets.

Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah was a target for Al-Ittihad, who reportedly had a bid worth 150 million pounds ($187.10 million) turned down by the Premier League club, while ambitious bids from Al-Hilal for Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe failed to materialise.

Saudi Arabia has made massive investments in football, Formula One, boxing, tennis and golf in recent years.

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UAE’s historic space mission ends with astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi’s return




UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi and his fellow Crew-6 members have successfully returned to Earth, concluding their historic space mission. The crew members safely disembarked from the Dragon Endeavour spacecraft with assistance from SpaceX recovery personnel. Al Neyadi, the last to exit the spacecraft, completed the process exactly one hour after the splashdown.

Crew-6’s remarkable space mission spanned an impressive 186 days, setting a new record as the longest mission in Arab history. The Dragon capsule made a secure touchdown off the Florida coast at 8:17 am on a Monday, with Al Neyadi emerging from the Dragon spacecraft just an hour later. During this mission, Al Neyadi achieved significant milestones, elevating the UAE’s status in the global space arena. He completed the longest-ever space mission by an Arab, spending six months aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and conducting groundbreaking scientific experiments for the betterment of humanity and scientific advancement.

As Sultan Al Neyadi, the UAE’s second astronaut, emerged from the Dragon spacecraft, he greeted onlookers with a smile and a wave. It’s worth noting that astronauts returning from extended periods in space often experience an adjustment period as they readapt to Earth’s gravity. The recovery process for the crew may take up to two hours to ensure their well-being after this remarkable mission.

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UAE’s economic agreements with Turkey and Indonesia spring into action




The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is entering a new era of economic collaboration with two rapidly growing global players as it activates two of its Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements (CEPAs). The UAE-Türkiye CEPA and the UAE-Indonesia CEPA have officially come into force, setting the stage for enhanced trade and investment cooperation.

The primary goal of these CEPAs is to foster economic ties by doubling non-oil trade. The UAE-Türkiye CEPA aims to elevate bilateral non-oil trade to an impressive $40 billion within five years, while the UAE’s CEPA with Indonesia seeks to push non-oil trade beyond $10 billion within the same timeframe. These agreements also aim to facilitate investment projects valued at $10 billion in various sectors.

In the words of HE Al-Zeyoudi, “The implementation of our CEPAs with Türkiye and Indonesia marks a significant step forward in our foreign trade program. Both agreements will unlock significant opportunities for our private sector in two of the world’s most dynamic centers of growth.”

These CEPAs are the third and fourth of their kind to come into force for the UAE, following successful agreements with India in May 2022 and Israel in April 2023. They are a testament to the UAE’s foreign trade agenda, strategically forging robust economic connections with nations of global importance. Both CEPAs promise to reduce or remove tariffs on a wide range of goods, eliminate trade barriers, and create pathways for investments in vital sectors like logistics, energy, food production, fintech, e-commerce, and travel and tourism.

The UAE-Indonesia CEPA, inked in Abu Dhabi in July 2022, aims to significantly boost bilateral non-oil trade from $4.08 billion to over $10 billion within five years. Additionally, the agreement targets a combined trade in services worth $630 million by 2030. Notably, over 80 percent of UAE exports to Indonesia will now be exempt from customs duties under this pact. This partnership also has an eye on nurturing the rapidly expanding Islamic economy, projected to reach $3.2 trillion by 2024. It will accelerate investment projects worth $10 billion across sectors like agriculture, energy, infrastructure, and logistics. The UAE-Türkiye CEPA is equally impactful, having eliminated or reduced customs duties on 82 percent of product lines, accounting for more than 93 percent of bilateral non-oil trade. Türkiye was the UAE’s fastest-growing top ten trading partner in 2022, witnessing a 40 percent increase in non-oil trade to $18.9 billion. The newly liberalized trade environment is set to drive this figure to an impressive $40 billion within the next five years.

HE Al Zeyoudi also stressed that the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements play a vital role in attaining the nation’s objectives, in particular the vision laid out in “We The UAE 2031”, which seeks to double the UAE’s non-oil foreign trade to AED4 trillion and elevate national exports to AED800 billion. The recently published statistics from H1, 2023, which show a record non-oil foreign trade value of AED1.239 trillion for the first six months of the year, demonstrate that the UAE is firmly on track – and that the CEPA program will help maintain this upward trajectory.

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