Now, an Arabic LinkedIn

The world’s largest, and admittedly most popular professional social networking site, LinkedIn, is now available in Arabic.

The announcement was made at an event in Dubai yesterday (February 18, 2015), at the company’s new regional headquarters.

 “Arabic is spoken by more than 300 million of the global population, more than French and Portuguese, yet it is underrepresented on the Internet. As speakers of this great language, it is our duty to be proactive, collaborate and strengthen the content available online in our language, and to initiate new sites and platforms, such as LinkedIn Arabic, that will cater for Arab youth and the generations to come,” said Her Excellency Noura Al Kaabi, Chief Executive Officer of the Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi, speaking at the event.

According to the press statement, the launch of Arabic – the first bi-directional language on LinkedIn – brings the total number of languages available on the site to 24. MENA is one of the fastest growing regions for the website, with the number of members having nearly tripled from five million since its launch in Dubai in 2012 to 14m this year. Oil, engineering and construction are expectedly the top represented industries in the MENA region, followed by education.

Social networks have increasingly gained importance both among job seekers and companies looking to hire potential candidates in the region. A study revealed that nearly 71 percent of surveyed MENA professionals have been influenced by a candidate’s social networking activities, with almost 41.5 percent of companies saying they ‘always’ research new hires online before recruiting them.

Another study from the International Finance Corporation revealed that 71 percent of surveyed job seekers in the region also said they would rely on social media to find their next job and 80 percent admitted that social media could help with job hunting by providing access to employment information.

Several regional companies, such as Al Futtaim Group and telecom powerhouse Etisalat, among others, are known to have actively adopted the use of social media to hire candidates.

“We have used LinkedIn as a key component of our marketing and hiring strategy across the Group since September 2013. With nearly 100 companies in the Group, it is a matter of competitive advantage to be seen as employer and brand of choice, and now with Arabic on the platform, we can strengthen our access to our key audiences across the region,” explains John Harker, Chief Marketing and HR Officer at Al Futtaim Group, said, reacting to LinkedIn’s announcement.

 But the Arabic version won’t cater only to the region. Forty percent of LinkedIn’s Arab members come from regions outside MENA and are based out of countries like the US, the UK, Canada, France and India.