People power: HR management

Dubai Knowledge Village celebrates its first decade this month, Vision explores the free zone’s influence on businesses everywhere

Initially started as a centre for professional training, Dubai Knowledge Village (DKV) was created to actively support the Government’s goal to develop the region’s talent pool and transform the UAE into a knowledge economy.

Today the business park remains the world’s only free zone dedicated to human resource management. After witnessing a 24 per cent growth last year with a further 80 HR institutes signing up to the business park, it is now home to 500 HR, consulting, R&D, training and personal development institutions.

The number of government, semi-government and private sector firms which have benefited from DKV’s business partner services over the past 10 years include: Emirates Airline; Sharjah Centre for Cultural Communications; Bosch Middle East; DP World; Majid Al Futtaim; InterContinental Hotel Group; and Prestigious Group.

“Changing workforce demographics and global talent trends require companies to be increasingly strategic and analytical about how they recruit, engage, deploy and retain their staff. Successful businesses now see effective human resource management as a business imperative and Dubai Knowledge Village has become a one-stop-shop for this,” says Dr Ayoub Kazim, Managing Director of DKV.

Amanda White is Managing Director of Innovative HR Solutions, an awarding-winning human capital consulting practice. The business is one of the 40 companies that have been based at DKV since inception. Its success is such that it has had to double its office size in the business park.  

“Having the Dubai Knowledge Village brand behind us can only have helped,” she acknowledged.

If DKV has been able to make a real difference locally, its reach has been felt far beyond the UAE and the GCC.

Eton Institute, the largest training and professional development provider in the UAE, opened in DKV in 2008 and quickly started to grow internationally.

“At a time when overseas companies are opening offices in the UAE, we remain one of the very few organisations who have branched out from Dubai to cities such as Vienna, New York and Washington DC. Thanks to Dubai Knowledge Village’s unique infrastructure, facilities and comprehensive support system, managing growth is one of the key challenges we face regularly and we are quite happy to tackle it every time,” Dr Eli Abi Rached, Managing Director of the Eton Institute, comments.

As other cities around the world take steps to try and emulate the success of Dubai’s free zones, DKW is hard pressed not to rest on its laurels and has a plethora of projects mapped out for the next decade.

“My vision for the next 10 years is to refine what Dubai Knowledge Village stands for, whilst making sure we remain in tune with the voice of industry. Over the past decade, we’ve seen the role of human resources grow from being a peripheral support function to a fully integrated, primary component of business. Over the next 10 years, the human resource function will continue to gain recognition for its contribution to overall business success,” says Dr Kazim.