It’s important to invest in people. A businessman will ask “why should I invest in someone, I can get an expat who is ready to work?” He should know that your people are your capital. Expats have helped us in the past, but in future we’ll need good professional nationals. We need to start now.”
This is the advice of Khaled Sayoti, who has worked in private sector HR for nearly 20 years. His career has taken in roles at Savola Group and Attieh Steel, but he has spent the past six years at Pepsi Cola Bugshan (formerly Saudi Industrial Projects Company), the regional bottler and distributor of PepsiCo in Saudi Arabia.
When a man of his experience calls for HR to take a leading role in developing future talent in the region – and for that talent to step up to the plate – leaders should listen.
“Now is the time for HR to be character builders,” he continues. “Business people see HR as strategically important, but it’s not just about getting the right people, it’s about getting the right people at the right time. It should be clear that Saudi nationals are a long-term investment. What I spend today on Saudis, I won’t get back next year, but in five-to- ten years’ time. Saudis will not leave if you give a good salary and development opportunities; expats could leave at any time.”