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Middle East Edition
13th May 2022
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Hotels in the Middle East could face recruitment crisis
Hotels in the Middle East could be facing a talent recruitment challenge after staff shortages in some European countries have reached crisis levels. The impetus is on the industry to shake off the reputation it has for hard, menial work, unsocial hours and poor pay, said Tim Cordon, area senior vice president, Middle East & Africa, Radisson Hotels Group. In a panel session on the future of the region’s’ hotels at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) earlier this week, he said: “I don’t think we can talk about the future of hotels without talking about the shortage of talent. We have employee shortages which are significant here in the region, but they are nowhere near as bad as they are, as they have been at crisis levels, in many European countries. I think we need to look at that and understand that that is a problem that is probably coming our way, and how do we address it?” Mr. Cordon said he wanted to challenge perceptions of the ability to recruit local staff, particularly in Saudi Arabia, where the group will open 20 hotels in the coming two years. He said it was often said that Saudis do not want to work in hospitality, but the company has had success in recruiting Saudi nationals, by challenging perceptions about the industry.
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Twitter announces hiring freeze and departure of two senior leaders
Parag Agrawal faces a potential investor revolt at the Twitter’s AGM later this month over his $30.4m pay package with ISS and Glass Lewis both recommending a vote against the CEO’s remuneration plan.
Oman: Education Ministry staff undergo training
Oman's Ministry of Education this week ran a training programme titled Management and evaluation of educational projects, in cooperation with the Centre for Community Service and Continuing Education at Sultan Qaboos University. The course was part of the professional development plan for employees of the ministry for the current year 2022. It highlighted the most important topics related to educational projects, as the programme was aimed at introducing participants to the concept of educational project management and planning, implementation and evaluation of projects, the phases of projects and their components and the administrative tools included in each stage of educational project management. The programme also sought to enable participants to practise the administrative tools used in designing educational projects in a practical way, evaluate projects, deliver, and close educational projects and overcome challenges of managing educational projects in terms of quality and risk management.
Call for designers to rebrand Hamad International Airport staff uniform
Hamad International Airport (HIA) has announced a collaboration with Fashion Trust Arabia (FTA) to redesign its customer-facing staff uniforms. A ‘Call for Designers’ launched online on May 11th, inviting Qatar-based fashion designers to participate in the competition, by re-envisioning HIA’s new uniform design and submitting their entries. As the airport expands its facilities and services it wants the new uniform design to reflect the organization’s true vibrant spirit and commitment to offering an exceptional passenger experience. The winner will also receive a financial reward of $10,000. 
Dozens of workers at Egyptian judicial institutions fired over Muslim Brotherhood links
Omar Marwan, Egypt's Minister of Justice, has announced that the government has dismissed dozens of employees in its judicial institutions, after they were found to have links to the Muslim Brotherhood. 
Saudi government likely to add to $500bn NEOM commitment
The Saudi Arabian government is likely to increase funding to NEOM, the 26,500-sq-km giga development in the kingdom’s northwest region, adding to the government's initial commitment of $500bn, according to one of the leaders of the project. Andrew McEvoy, the project’s head of the tourism sector, said that the ambition surrounding the project, first announced in 2017, made it very likely that it would get additional funds NEOM will welcome the first tourists in 2024, when guests arrive at a yet-to-be-announced Red Sea beach resort. Mr McEvoy said it will be visually spectacular, with contributions by architects, film set designers and other “imagineers”. More than 30 hotels will be available by 2026, with a target of 45,000 hotel keys by 2030 and ambitions to employ 70,000 people in tourism. While completion targets have been set for both 2030 and 2040, Mr McEvoy said NEOM is likely to continue developing for the next 50 years. Tourism will be among the top three of 14 sectors contributing to the economy.
Qatar: Minister of Municipality reviews areas of cooperation with US
Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Subaie, Qatar's Minister of Municipality, has praised the partnership that has developed between Qatar and the US over the past 50 years. At a reception hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in coordination with the US-Qatar Business Council, he touched on Qatar's achievements in areas including food security, agriculture, infrastructure, and urban planning. He also highlighted the urban and development renaissance that Qatar is witnessing in the field of infrastructure, transportation and railways to achieve sustainable development and in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030.
Saudi food chain Herfy’s quarterly profits up 11%
Herfy, Saudi Arabia's largest food chain, has posted a surge in profit of 11% in the first quarter, on the back of a 5% rise in sales. Net profit came in at SR28.4m ($7.6m), with sales hitting SR328m. The Riyadh-based food chain added that this came despite an increase in selling and marketing expenses. Herfy Food Services was established in 1981, and the first Herfy restaurant opened in Riyadh that same year.
HSBC launches $1bn lending fund for female entrepreneurs
HSBC is launching a $1bn lending fund to invest in female-owned businesses over the next 12 months. Sam Cooper-Gray, global head of market strategy at HSBC Business Banking, said: "The level of funding received over time by female-led businesses is significantly lower than male counterparts, while the recent impacts of the pandemic have seen these same businesses disproportionately affected.”
Greggs facing shareholder revolt over high pay
Shareholder advisory services Pirc and Glass Lewis have urged investors to vote against Greggs’ remuneration report arguing that payouts for outgoing chief executive, Roger Whiteside, were excessive and that there was no rationale for issuing a higher than usual bonus for finance chief, Richard Hutton.
China's Didi faces SEC probe into IPO
Didi says it is facing a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation into its $4.4bn IPO in New York last year. The Chinese ride-hailing firm launched the offering on June 30th; however, shortly afterwards, the Chinese government banned Didi from app stores in the country and launched an investigation into its handling of customer data. Authorities from the powerful Cyberspace Administration of China accused Didi of breaking privacy laws and posing cybersecurity risks. Their actions were also widely seen as punishment for the company's decision to go public overseas instead of in China. Under pressure from Chinese regulators, Didi announced in December that it would start the process of delisting from the New York Stock Exchange and pivot to Hong Kong.

Singapore deal allows SocGen bankers to flee Hong Kong
Société Générale made an arrangement with the Singapore government that allowed it to relocate at least a dozen Hong Kong bankers despite the city-state’s tightening of controls on foreign hires.

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