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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Al Hamli: International Cooperation Crucial in Global Race for Talent

The UAE’s Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation yesterday called for greater international cooperation in the face of an increasingly competitive race for global talent. Addressing a regional gathering of Ministers in Dubai, H.E. Nasser bin Thani Juma Al Hamli, warned that countries that do not invest in developing and attracting a skilled workforce risk economic stagnation.

Speaking at the opening of the Abu Dhabi Dialogue in Dubai, the Minister said, “More and more, countries are competing to attract the world’s top talent. They understand that their prosperity and growth depends on highly skilled individuals, whose capabilities are often in short supply, and they are developing increasingly sophisticated ways to incentivise them to join their labour markets.

“Our goal as the UAE is to be one of the most attractive markets in the world for high skilled workers. We are building a labour market that is very different from the labour market of yesterday. Across every sector, from business and government, to medicine and law, our knowledge economy will increasingly depend on highly skilled workers to drive economic growth and innovation.”

Behind this race for skills is substantial disruption in the world of work, due to new technologies and automation. Research by McKinsey suggests that around half of jobs performed by humans will be disrupted by automation, mainly among lower and medium skilled workers. Meanwhile, according to the Coursera Global Skills Index, two thirds of the world’s population is falling behind in critical skills, including 90% of developing countries, suggesting significant unmet demand for new and emerging skills.   

According to Al Hamli, international cooperation is crucial in meeting this growing demand. Speaking to ministers and senior officials from across Asia, he set out a vision for a new era of regional collaboration. 

“If we act together as a region to raise skills standards in our workforces, we can become the world’s skills powerhouse. We have long experience in this region of enabling mobility for workers, and by working together on these new challenges we are taking the next step towards equipping our populations to compete in a truly global economy.

“This must also extend to global cooperation. Let us draw on the experiences of other regions to understand how they are approaching these challenges and strengthen ties to ensure that we lead the global debate.”

The Minister was speaking as he took up the UAE’s two year Chairmanship of the Abu Dhabi Dialogue. Founded in 2008, the Abu Dhabi Dialogue is the regional meeting of governments to discuss the governance of temporary contractual workers in the Gulf.

Attending the Abu Dhabi Dialogue are Ministers from the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, alongside delegations from a further nine countries. The Director General of the International Organisation for Migration, António Vitorino, also made a keynote speech yesterday backing inter-regional cooperation. Vice Ministers from Guatemala and Lithuania are attending as observers, in their capacities as Chairs of other regional meetings, alongside delegates from ten additional regions.

The UAE’s Chairmanship of the Abu Dhabi Dialogue will see a focus on the Future of Work, alongside programmes addressing issues including skills, technology, domestic work standards, and the provision of information to workers. The UAE is taking over the Chairmanship from Sri Lanka.

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