Industry experts are confident about employment, youth development in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

According to the MENA Labour Market Confidence Index to be officially released at the Human Resources (HR) Summit and Expo 2014, taking place on 20 through 22 October, a majority of regional business leaders is optimistic about the future.

“We hope that the MENA Labour Market Confidence Index helps inform and shape the overall policy and HR direction in our nations and organisations.  The region currently faces some extraordinary opportunities and challenges with regards to its workforce,” says Ramy Bayyour, show-director of the HR Summit and Expo, in a statement.

46% of respondents are convinced that the overall economic outlook in their respective countries has improved for the better, while 45% state it has remained the same.

The role of the HR department across all industries, becoming noticeably more and more important make their opinion relevant in any forecast of the future hence 51% of leaders believe that 2015 will be the same as this year whilst 42% feel it will reap more rewards.  Only 7% are cautious for the year ahead.

“The research clearly highlights the role that professionals in HR need to play so as to contribute in the shaping of the region in terms of human capital development, especially in the UAE with the preparation for Expo 2020 in mind.  We need to build a resilient, skilled and diversified workforce contributing to all sectors of the economy,” says a managing director of a talent hunter, commenting on the results.

Developing the younger generations, and focusing on national talent acquisition emerged as human capital priorities in the report.

“With its projected levels of economic growth, an unprecedented increase in youth population, increase in female participation in the workplace and changing patterns of immigration, we are witnessing a laboratory for labour market reform,” adds Bayyour.

With the UAE gearing up for Expo 2020 and the rest of the MENA region in full expansion, the HR Summit and Expo 2014 will surely reveal more interesting trends.