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Middle East Edition
20th October 2021
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Abu Dhabi's tech hub sees surge of start-up interest
Abu Dhabi’s new technology hub, Hub71, which is backed by Abu Dhabi state fund Mubadala Investment, the SoftBank Vision Fund, and Microsoft, has accepted 100 start-ups since its launch in 2019 after a selection process that generated about 3,500 applications. Hub71 chief operating officer Jida Itani said: "Despite COVID and everything else, start-ups continue to apply. In fact we have seen a surge in particular sectors that [has] been accelerated by the pandemic like health tech, education tech and fintech." She said start-ups are enthusiastic about a base in the UAE following successes by local technology firms, including Anghami, a regional rival to Spotify that is anticipated to list on the Nasdaq exchange in New York. Companies were offered free office space, housing and insurance for all their employees, Itani said.
Future of work: How HR Tech can enable transformation

The last 2 years have had a huge impact on how organisations have looked at and changed their HR tech, and HR led digital transformation. According to Capgemini, leaders in enterprise technology innovation, the future of HR is a digitalized function powered by insight and digital technology, envisioning and enabling the fluid and augmented workforce of the future.

But does the industry believe their tech is up to standard to drive this change and to deliver performance over the coming years?

Capgemini invites you to compare your opinion with your HR peers in this live industry benchmark: Does your HR tech enable transformation?

Israeli tech leaders are split on official plan to bring workers from overseas
Tech leaders in Israel have given a mixed reception to a new government plan to make it easier for Jewish professionals from overseas to make aliyah and help the country deal with labour shortages in the sector. The official plan, advanced by Aliyah and Integration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata, would offer help with job placement and immigration complexities to encourage the recruitment of qualified Diasporic Jews and Israeli citizens living overseas. “One must first realize the existing potential here before starting to import from outside,” said Moshe Lipsker, SVP of global product development at cybersecurity firm Imperva. “Investments must be made in training in the periphery and sectors such as the ultra-Orthodox, and the potential of the periphery and sectors must be exhausted. After realizing the potential in the country, one can start thinking of other solutions.” Nimrod Wax, one of the founders of data management company BigID and director of its operations in Israel, observed: “The minister’s plan to import workers meets the immediate needs of the industry in the immediate term. By bringing workers to Israel, Israeli hi-tech companies will continue to expand and grow here in Israel . . . But at the same time as importing workers from abroad, it is necessary to take care of the development of a program for training Israeli talents for hi-tech.”
Saudi workers in guided transport sector will get SR2400 monthly support
A self-employment support program in the guided transport sector aims to support Saudi full-time workers as well as new job seekers in the field of passenger transportation through the guided-vehicle applications, according to Saudi Arabia’s Public Transport Authority. The Human Resources Development Fund (HADAF) is providing an incentive to raise the rate of Saudization in this sector. Monthly support of up to SR2400 is available from HADAF upon completion of 42 trips per month. The transport authority noted that it has approved 17 applications so as to qualify Saudi jobseekers in the sector.
Saudi vice prevention unit plans to hire female staff
Saudi Arabia’s Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Haia) has announced that it plans to appoint female staff members in the near future. “The commission has drawn up a strategic plan to take advantage of the female component to carry out its functions and tasks comprehensively in the fields of guidance, counselling and awareness,” said commission president Dr. Abdul Rahman Al-Sanad, adding that the new appointees will be based on their specialisations in various disciplines.
Emirates NBD trains branch staff in Emirati sign language
Banking group Emirates NBD is training its branch staff in Emirati sign language (ESL) - the first sign language for the UAE dialect, and a unified reference language for those with hearing disabilities in the UAE. Already, more than 2,100 branch staff have been trained in American Sign Language and continue to receive training on disability etiquette and workplace inclusion. “As part of our ongoing commitment to inclusion, Emirates NBD has always taken the lead in empowering People of Determination towards independence in their day-to-day financial lifestyles,” said Marwan Hadi, Executive Vice President and Head of Retail Banking, UAE at Emirates NBD. “We aim to continue to strengthen our offering for customers with disabilities, with initiatives that enhance and support their banking experience.”
Facebook plans to rebrand with a new name
The Verge reports that Facebook is planning to change its company name next week to reflect a focus on building the so-called “metaverse.” The report, which cited a source with direct knowledge of the matter, said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg intends to discuss the rebranding at the company's annual Connect conference on October 28th, but the name could be revealed sooner. Facebook told Reuters that it "does not comment on rumour or speculation." Facebook describes its metaverse project as "a new phase of interconnected virtual experiences" that makes use of virtual and augmented reality.
Alphabet CEO says governments should take a more active role on cybersecurity
Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai wants the US government to assume a more active role in cybersecurity initiatives and in encouraging innovation. He is urging governments to draft the equivalent of a Geneva Convention for technology to detail international legal standards in an increasingly connected world. “Governments on a multilateral basis . . . need to put it up higher on the agenda,” Mr. Pichai said, adding “If not, you're going to see more [cybersecurity breaches] because countries would resort to those things.” He also petitioned the US government to do more to encourage innovation amid growing competition from China. Alphabet-owned Google’s eponymous search engine doesn't operate in China, but the company is investing in quantum computing and artificial intelligence to stay ahead of Chinese companies that compete to provide services in markets around the world, including Southeast Asia, Mr. Pichai said.
Acer confirms second cyberattack in less than a week
Computer hardware company Acer has been hit by a cyberattack on its servers in Taiwan after its offices in India were targeted less than a week ago by the same hacker group. The Desorden Group said in a statement that part of why they instigated the latest attack was to prove "that Acer is way behind in its cybersecurity effects on protecting its data and is a global network of vulnerable servers." The group said it hacked the company's Taiwan servers that stored data on employees and product information. "We did not steal all data, and only took data pertaining to their employee details. Right after the breach, we informed Acer management of the Taiwan server breach and Acer has since taken the affected server offline," the group said, adding  "Also, a few other of its global networks including Malaysia and Indonesia servers are vulnerable too."
Hong Kong broadcaster takes cyberbullying claims to police
Hong Kong broadcaster TVB has filed a report with local police alleging cyberbullying by netizens who the company claims have launched an online smear campaign against the station, its advertisers and artists. The city-state’s biggest free-to-air television broadcaster described what it called the “harassment, molestation, pestering, threats and intimidation” employed by netizens attempting a boycott of the business and those buying advertising time on it. “This cyberbullying behaviour may cause psychological or property damage to these parties and subsequently lead to social unrest,” the company said, adding “To protect TVB and our advertisers, as well as to stop indiscriminate cyberbullying, TVB filed a report to the police in the morning.”
German online lender to create 1,000 new jobs
German online bank N26 is to hire an additional 1,000 staff to add to its workforce of 1,500 people worldwide. The new recruits will be focused on product, technology and cybersecurity, the Berlin-based start-up said. N26, which is one of Germany’s most high-profile financial technology companies, has raised more than $900m (€775m) from private investors in what it described as the “largest financing round to date for a digital bank in Europe” that brought its valuation “to more than $9.0bn.” Valentin Stalf, CEO and co-founder of N26, said: “With our fresh capital, we are in pole position to become one of the biggest retail banks in Europe, all without a single branch.”
Microsoft leaders warned Bill Gates over ‘inappropriate' emails
Bill Gates was asked by Microsoft executives to stop sending “flirtatious” and “inappropriate” emails to a female employee before the company founder left the business a decade ago, it has been claimed. Microsoft was aware that Gates had sent messages to the employee in 2007, Microsoft spokesman Frank Shaw told the Wall Street Journal. In the “flirtatious” emails, which Shaw described as “not overtly sexual, but were deemed to be inappropriate,” Gates proposed meeting the woman outside work and away from the Microsoft campus. She did not file a complaint. Bridgitt Arnold, a spokeswoman for Gates, said in a written statement: “These claims are false, recycled rumors from sources who have no direct knowledge, and in some cases have significant conflicts of interest.”

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