Strategies to employ more locals in the private sector over expats in Maldives

Expat workers in Maldives

There seems a dearth for developing Maldivian Talent for skilled and senior positions in the private sector. The recent news on the enactment to ensure 60% of the management positions to be employed by the locals and the related discussions in the media drew my attention. Though such enactments and regulations, and the discussions may support towards the objective in the long run, critical analysis of the situation and meaningful strategies would lead to resolve the issue within a target timeframe.

Though I am an expat, as a group CEO, consultant, trainer, experienced in a leading resort, and been associating with the Maldivian Corporate and government sectors for over 15 years, I thought of sharing my thoughts on this with the sole intention of contributing towards this meaningful cause. I do see there is lot of talents being underutilized as well.

In order to assess the suitability of a person for any position, whether it is technical or executive, one need to be assessed based on the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required for the post. People in the HR fraternity and the executives would agree that people with the right set of attitudes could be taught for knowledge and trained for skill gaps. Therefore, the key here is the need for a transformation in attitudes and values towards a performance driven culture in my humble view, especially in the private sector. The need to bridge this gap in the future will be even more tough due to the increased competition and complexities in the business environment. However, a carefully crafted set of strategies with clear action plans could lead to achieve this target.

The first step in the strategy making process shall be to carry a thorough research among the private sector representing diverse industries to assess the present and the future need gaps. Then, the process to fill the gap has to be strategized at multiple levels as follows:

  1. Transformation of the present workforce who is aspiring to achieve higher positions
  2. Development of the present youth who are ready to be employed
  3. Future workforce – who are present and future students

As a person involve in lecturing in Maldives as well, I observe that the present generation of students do just want to complete the study programs to obtain a qualification rather than gaining deeper subject knowledge. This further deteriorates the situation and a serious correction is needed in the education system for this.

However, irrespective of the outcome of the research, looking at the emerging skills and attitude requirements in the 21st century, all above categories could be trained through a structured program in the following key areas in order for them to be successful in their present positions and to climb up to senior positions as well.


  1. Leadership Values, Mindsets and Skills
  2. Communication and presentation skills
  3. Creative and Critical Thinking Skills
  4. Emotional Intelligence
  5. Corporate Values and Etiquettes
  6. Personal Branding & Grooming
  7. Change Management


Editor’s Note: Mr. M. Fawas Farook is a regular opinion writer to Maldives Business Review with valuable insight towards Islamic Compliance Financing and Islamic Banking. He is also well versed and educated on business and technical consultancy and analysis.