Samsung C&T seeks to attract national talent in GCC projects

Human resources element a ‘key challenge’ for company in the GCC region.

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Samsung Construction and Trading (C&T) is looking to recruit more GCC nationals into its projects in the region, company representatives have told Big Project ME.

The company wants to decrease its Korean workforce overseas with a view towards attracting more talent among nationals of the countries their projects are in.

“We are changing our hiring strategy from the Korean base management to global staff. So we are decreasing the Korean staff and then increasing hiring global staff,” a Samsung senior representative said.

The firm is making active efforts to hire nationals in Saudi Arabia and the UAE as it looks to become “increasingly globalised,” he said.

“This year we recruited in two universities in Jeddah and Riyadh,” the spokesperson said. “We interviewed some of the students to encourage them to work with Samsung. So we gave the opportunity for our students to get work experience in Samsung projects,” he told Big Project ME at a recent event organised by Samsung C&T for its partners in the MENA region.

“We have currently four projects in Saudi Arabia…so we will recruit more talented newcomers,” he said. “We won’t [recruit] through offices, we’ll do it through our projects,” he added.

Samsung C&T has been involved in internship programs in Saudi universities as well as in the Higher Colleges of Technology in Dubai, the representative said. The company also undertakes training programs to provide workforce with the necessary skills.

These steps are in line with government directives to hire more nationals, the representative said.

He added, however, that human resources element was a key challenge for the company as the GCC region is a “very hot market at the moment.”

Likening it to a “war”, he noted that skills shortage was an issue for the construction industry in GCC countries, increasing the competition and demand for professionals with the necessary qualifications.

When asked about whether the Nitaqat requirements in Saudi Arabia were creating any issues for the company, Samsung C&T said the program wasn’t currently posing any challenges.

“We’re doing okay,” the representative told Big Project ME, while admitting that it was “going to be a challenge to meet the government targets” for recruitment in GCC countries.

“I don’t think we have to complain about it,” he added, however. “It’s more about productivity, where we can find right Saudi staff and employees who can bring that productivity. It’s about how to manage at the project level than complaining about the resources.”

Samsung C&T is also looking to partner and enter into joint ventures with local contractors in GCC countries to benefit from their expertise, company officials said.

“It’s going to be a journey,” the representative said, adding that the firm was looking to place the “right people in the right markets.”

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