Mona Abou Hana, Chief People Officer for EMEA and the Middle East, PwC Middle East.
At PwC Middle East, we have a successful graduate programme in place that is now on its sixth intake. Each year, we bring in over 300 new graduates to give them the opportunity to work with a variety of leading clients and projects. During the programme, the graduates have the opportunity to gain insights from our tech-powered network and global capabilities. But through it all, we’re renowned for our development legacy, so we’re preparing our people for the future by giving them access to the right tools and courses, upskilling them on all things digital.
At PwC Middle East, developing a diverse and inclusive firm is a key priority to sustain our growth in the region and deliver on our purpose of building trust in society and solving important problems. We have one of the youngest regions, with over 60 percent under the age of 25, but similarly have a challenge with youth currently consisting of over 30% of those currently unemployed. This presents a huge opportunity for us as a region, to usher growth and prosperity; but we have to make the investment to develop and support our younger communities.
As part of our refreshed global strategy, The New Equation, in the coming years, we’ve committed to hiring over 500 new graduates each year, and provide them with training and qualifications that sets them up for a strong career in the region. Doubling down on our existing commitment to promote inclusion and diversity, 50% will be female and 80% Arabic speakers. This speaks directly to the region we operate in and is how we work with and develop the leaders of tomorrow.
Our graduate programmes provide young, passionate and diverse people in the Middle East with an opportunity to grow through our unparalleled development legacy, build lasting relationships rooted in our culture of care and make purposeful impact by working with a variety of leading clients to build trust and deliver sustained outcomes. We have a number of programmes across our lines of service, each unlocking the potential of our graduates by helping them develop differentiated capabilities.
88.7% of our people are proud to work at PwC Middle East. As an inherently young workforce with 75% ranging between the ages of 25 to 35, our grads continue on to build their own legacy within the firm. We’re a business that leads with the heart and we prioritise our people. Led by our value of care, we find ways to help our teams, our clients and one another.
In the beginning, I don’t think we were getting the right mix of graduates. We were obviously looking into their credentials, but what matters most is making sure that each cohort is representative of the communities we operate in.
In this sense, once we started setting targets for 50% of each cohort to be female, we made sure that we were giving equal opportunities for all to generally improve the talent pool joining our firm. Furthermore, in Saudi Arabia, PwC Middle East broke its graduate hiring record in the Kingdom, onboarding 122 graduates in its five offices in the country with around 90% being Saudi Nationals. In addition to this, PwC Watani programme aims to empower Emirati students, graduates and job seekers to become the next generation of business leaders, by providing exciting growth opportunities and enabling them to transform their futures.
We have a summer internship programme in place across the firm, and are looking into how we can start rolling out community outreach programmes for students in high school and university. The world is changing rapidly, and as a firm committed to the transformation of our region, we need to ensure that future generations have the skills and capabilities to excel in a digital world.
The CIPD’s One Million Chances campaign aims to create a million opportunities for young people. It’s vital that this gap is bridged by helping young people find meaningful work and helping employers find new talent pipelines.
Let’s help young people get their foot in the door. Let’s give them a chance.