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"Knowledge transfer key to accelerating Saudi’s Nationalisation Agenda"

5 minutes
Hana Abu Kharmeh HR Director
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is evolving rapidly. Not only is it seeing dramatic growth in the realms of industry and throughout its economy, but also socially. This evolution brings with it a dramatic requirement for international companies and in-country expatriates to support the development of the Kingdom and its nationals, striving to collaboratively reach a future wherein the heights of industry are owned, managed and operated by the people of Saudi Arabia.

“Knowledge transfer is key to accelerating Saudi’s Nationalisation Agenda. Through Vision 2030, the Kingdom will gradually reduce the reliance on international contractors by fostering the skills, capabilities, experiences and qualified personnel within its own populace."

Hana Abu Kharmeh, the Regional Human Resources Director at Serco Middle East said: 

Future generations of Saudi nationals will in-turn have a lower requirement to outsource projects to international firms, ensuring the future of the country is driven by its own people.”

She continued: “The transfer of knowledge will create a snowball effect wherein opportunities will be created for Saudi nationals that simply don’t exist today, as the competencies, skills and experiences that currently reside with the expatriate workforce will be instead transferred to nationals.

As these new opportunities get filled, Saudi Arabia will be able to operate almost solely on a nationalised workforce that then transfers knowledge and grows internally in a dynamic way.”

This will especially be important for crucial sectors such as healthcare, in which Serco specialises in delivering essential healthcare services for a better environment for healthcare and supporting improved patient outcomes.

Understanding Nationalization

Serco in Saudi Arabia is also dedicated to supporting the Nationalisation Programme contained within Vision 2030. This is most clearly evidenced through Serco’s partnership with Mashroat to provide management consultancy services, for a very complex and critical scope of work to the Kingdom. This in-turn, will optimise operational cost throughout the Kingdom in a manner that is spearheaded by Saudi nationals through Saudi owned and operated companies.

Vision 2030 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

National Development programmes will also be key in knowledge transfer and support the sourcing, recruitment, training and development of Saudi nationals within businesses.

Another core pillar of Vision 2030 is the privatisation of certain governmental and semi-governmental entities and services. There is no better way to partner with regional governments, than through the development of Saudi nationals who will then, by definition, have dramatic input on the operations of key government services.

Hana Abu Kharmeh concluded:
Moving forward, it is essential that this initial dedication to nationalisation within the Kingdom continues. In order to achieve the goals of Vision 2030, it rests with the international companies and expatriate workforces to develop knowledge transfer protocols that are effective and contribute toward the development of expertise within nationals.

This has already started, with governmental tenders now including knowledge transfer clauses and requirements within them.

A contractor that wins a project must now commit to an effective knowledge transfer programme throughout or at the culmination of the project – or both – to facilitate the take-over of the project by a team of Saudi nationals.

This efficiently and dynamically ensures that the highest international standards reach the Saudi national workforce and can then cascade through to the next generation, without the need for international support.”

Saudi national working in an office

Saudi national working in an office



Reducing the reliance on international contractors is also heavily beneficial for the Saudi economy, as the lower prices associated with a localised workforce will mean projects are facilitated to happen sooner without sacrificing quality, duration or scope. It is important that international contractors continue to support the growth of Saudi Arabia as a country as well as its nationals


HR Director Hana Abu Kharmeh

Bringing over 16 years of multinational experience to the role, Hana was appointed as regional HR business partner for the company in 2020, where she demonstrated high performance and deep understanding of Serco’s core values and culture as she led HR teams across Serco in the UAE, KSA and Iraq.