Part 1:The Middle East in 2023: Predicting the future of Employment, Education and Entrepreneurship.

 

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This article one in a series was written by our September Spotlight Abdulmuttalib Al Hashemi of  Next level Emiratisation. He wrote it first in February. We are reproducing it here by kind permission for our readers to enjoy. This month you can enjoy a number of articles from Abdulmuttalib.

It was ten minutes after midnight on a chilly Tuesday night.  Nearly 1.5 million people were gazing at the clear Dubai sky dazzled by the stunning fireworks across the city.  The crackling of fireworks mixed with the whistles and cheers of all the on-lookers.  Elsewhere in New York City’s Time Square, by the banks of London’s River Thames, over Australia’s Sydney harbor and across many other global cities; residents took to the streets glaring towards the sky in the same fashion.  To me it seemed like those ten minutes had captured a common human emotion across the world, and it had united us regardless of our race, religion and backgrounds.  That emotion was the powerful feeling of hopefulness.  Whether you were old or young, wealthy or poor, employed or jobless, living in a country at war or in a country struggling with economic woes, whether you were a pessimist or an optimist; you must have had amidst the embraces and celebrations–what my wife calls – a “hidden prayer” of hope.

War, demonstrations, sectarian disputes, economic hardships and unemployment are all too familiar themes here in the Arab world.  It’s as if we have been condemned to exclusive ownership of these themes throughout the last fifty years at least.  The last three years in particular have been notably grueling for the youth in the Arab world, but I am hopeful that if we can ‘tough it out’ and come out of this period with unwavering resolve to achieve our true potential and live the lives we aspire to lead, I believe only then will we truly deserve the title of a ‘brave new generation’.

I am not a ‘modern politics’ expert or an economist but as an Arab entrepreneur and a commentator on the Human Resource practice in the region who has dedicated his last six years in the field of employment in the middle east and in the UAE specifically, I have always believed that a huge part of the solution to the problems we face in our society today can always be found in three key areas, these are: education, employment and entrepreneurship. Why do I hold such a belief? It’s because all three areas are key towards empowerment of people. Hence, I continue to believe that an empowered generation is a generation that determines its own course regardless of the political, social or economic environment it lives in.

I also believe that we human resource practitioners in the Arab world  could easily boast that we are somewhat fortunate to have a front-row view where we can clearly see the outcomes of the policies and changes that have shaped the areas of education, employment and entrepreneurship in the last decade especially.  Let me explain how come.  First, we work close with the education system to produce a qualified and work-ready workforce.  Second, when it comes to employment, we work within the trenches of the unemployment problem as opposed to most policy makers who operate from a distance.  And finally, with regards to entrepreneurship, we are often engaged by either employees who decide to take the entrepreneurial path and go at it on their own, or we are engaged by entrepreneurs who are desperate to integrate back in to the workforce due to the uncertain and challenging market conditions.  Yet despite all this and ironically, we are rarely engaged by government or policy makers for our views and input.  It’s like that eternal question ‘soccer’ enthusiasts always debate; how strong is the credibility of a pundit or a coach who has never played a game or coached on the pitch?

Now that 2013 is here and along with it come a flurry of predictions from political commentators, economists, capitalists, environmentalists and even psychics; I thought it was high time we took the predictions of HR professionals-yes HR professionals, you read that right- and their views of how do they see the next 10 years in the areas of education, employment and entrepreneurship.  In the following part of this post you will read the predictions and hopes I gathered of 5 HR ‘Futurists’ who are based in the Middle East, however before we move on to my ‘featured guests’ predictions, I think it is only fair to kick-off with my own personal predictions for the year 2013 to the year 2023.  That will be part II of this post, but until then please feel free to share your future predictions and hopes on this blog.  After all it was someone who said “Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning”

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