Dubai: The 2023 Middle East People Awards winners were unveiled at the CIPD’s annual gala dinner in Dubai on 7 December. The awards recognised individuals, teams, and organisations across eleven categories for their outstanding people management and development achievements. The judging panel of independent consultants, global experts and HR practitioners reviewed over 130 entries this year, ranking them against innovation, alignment with the business, impact, and relevance.

Commenting on the awards this year, Stuart Dunlop, Regional Director – CIPD MENA, said, “This year marked a record number of submissions, showcasing impressive quality. While celebrating our winners, it's crucial to acknowledge the finalists' excellent work, each presenting innovative stories in alignment with CIPD's mission for better work and working lives.”

As Gulf countries continue to drive their nationalisation agendas to support economic diversification, the CIPD introduced the Nationalisation Award to recognise the positive initiatives being rolled out. The winners, Emirates Group, impressed the judges with their focus on building Emirati talent through their whole sourcing cycle of candidates, from high school to post-graduate scholarship, focusing on first recruiting Emirati nationals for all their open positions at all levels.  

For embodying the People First approach with an initiative that impacted over 15,000 employees and championing the holistic wellbeing of all, The Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority (ZATCA) took the trophy of the People Team of the Year. 

stc Group won the best HR, OD & L&D Consultancy Award for innovatively implementing an AI-powered graduate development programme for the Saudi Ministry of Defence. Their approach boosted applications, cut costs, and expedited the selection of the candidates, widening access to the Ministry of Defence graduate scheme. 

Faye Truin was named Rising Star of the People Profession in recognition of her efforts to set herself apart in her professional journey by making a meaningful impact and contributing to the growth of Food People, a start-up specialist recruitment firm for the food industry. 

For putting its people at the heart of the business and implementing practices that result in a productive, engaged, and motivated workforce, Bupa Arabia was named Employer of the Year.

The winners are:

Award Category


Best Change Management Initiative

National Bank of Fujairah

      Best Employee Engagement Initiative

Bupa Arabia

Best Learning and Development Programme

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC)

Most Impactful Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Initiative

National Central Cooling Company (Tabreed)

Best HR Leadership Development Programme

stc Group

Best Recruitment and Talent Management Strategy

Savola Foods Company

Best HR/L&D and OD Consultancy

Ministry of Defence / stc Group – Fakhoor programme

Rising Star of the People Profession

Faye Truin

Best Nationalisation Initiative

The Emirates Group

People Team of the Year

ZATCA (The Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority)

Employer of the Year

Bupa Arabia

About the Awards
CIPD Middle East Awards (

About CIPD

The CIPD has been championing better work and working lives for over 100 years. It helps organisations thrive by focusing on their people to build stronger economies and societies. It’s the professional body for HR, L&D, OD, and all people professionals – experts in people, work and change. With almost 160,000 members globally – and a growing community using its research, insights, and learning – it gives trusted advice and offers independent thought leadership. It’s a leading voice in the call for good work that creates value for everyone.

Please contact Tonzock Agwara, Marketing Manager – CIPD MENA for more information. (E:  or T: 00971 524334502)