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The important issue of human capital and the need to retain staff was the key focus of one of the discussions on the second day of the Big-5 conference.

Dr Faysal Alaquil the Director of Business Development at CPC (Construction Products Holding Company) gave an impassioned speech on the challenges facing Middle East companies trying to cultivate human capital in the region.

Dr Alaquil opened by stating that the GCC has come on a long way in the last few years and how the region has blossomed due to mega projects which has improved national economies and provided jobs for the growing number of new graduates. However, Dr Alaquil stated that: ?the fate of our nations will depend on what we do today. This will only succeed when our people are strong, they must be equipped with knowledge and become masters of technology.?

Dr Alaquil discussed the challenges and competitive pressures facing the Middle East in the 21st century. He argued that Middle East companies must develop first class human capital and also address the socio-economic imbalances.
?As Dr Alaquil stated: ?The strength of our human capital will determine the success of our future nation building. The development of quality human capital is critical to build competitiveness and to achieve our goals.?

Good human capital must aim to look after the growing number of graduates who are entering the corporate world in the Middle East who will become the future leaders of Middle East economies. Dr Alaquil stated that these graduates ?must possess intellectual capacity, knowledge and culture. They must be prepared to lead our nations to greater heights.?

The increasing pressure on corporations to improve human capital is greater than ever as many of the biggest economies in the world are now corporations. The Middle East like other regions around the world is facing the difficulty of attracting the right talent and retaining quality employees. Dr Alaquil argued that corporations must focus more on better attracting the right people, retaining them and developing these people to deliver on a corporations business objective and goals.

Many people are trying to cut corners to survive in an increasingly competitive business environment and companies should not look to short term solutions. Companies should in fact be looking at the bigger picture. As Dr Alaquil stated: ? The hallmarks of real professionalism are reliability, honesty, discipline and responsibility coupled with high level training, knowledge and skills.?