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How LinkedIn Serves MENA--And How That’s Changing

Inc. Arabia speaks to EMEA Growth Markets Leader and Head of LinkedIn MENA Ali Matar about the growth of LinkedIn in MENA and how the platform is adapting its offerings to expand its footprint.

By Inc.Arabia Staff
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With over 65 million members in MENA, LinkedIn has become the go-to platform for business leaders, entrepreneurs, and job seekers in the region. The company’s latest insights show that Saudi Arabia is leading the region in disruptive technology skills like nanotechnology and material sciences. They also show that the UAE continues to be the fastest-growing market for the platform.

In an exclusive interview with Inc. Arabia, Ali Matar, EMEA Growth Markets Leader and Head of LinkedIn MENA, speaks about the platform’s growth in the region and how LinkedIn can serve businesses and entrepreneurs.

Inc. Arabia: What is the split of Arabic vs. English usage of LinkedIn in the region? Have you seen significant changes to that in the past years?

Ali Matar: The Middle East is a powerhouse of innovation and growth, and we have a growing community of 65+ million members on LinkedIn across MENA. We are also home to 15 million Arabic-speaking professionals globally, out of which 13 million are in MENA. This is a growing segment of our customer base, and we recognize how important it is for regional businesses on LinkedIn to reach their key audience.

Interestingly, our research into B2B marketing shows that local language content leads to a 30% increase in engagement, which is why we have launched Arabic Ads as our latest regionally tailored product for marketers.

IA: Where do you see the highest number of LinkedIn members in the region? What is the fastest-growing market for LinkedIn in MENA?

AM: In the MENA region, LinkedIn has an impressive 65 million members. In the GCC, the UAE and Saudi Arabia have the highest membership bases, with seven million and nine million members, respectively.

The UAE stands out as one of the fastest-growing markets for LinkedIn in terms of member engagement. 

IA: How does LinkedIn MENA address the specific networking and business needs of entrepreneurs in the region? 

AM: LinkedIn is proud to be a platform that caters to the needs of hiring managers, job-seeking professionals, and business owners and entrepreneurs. The platform can help entrepreneurs grow their businesses, whether that means acquiring new customers, bringing in exceptional talent, or extending their professional network.

LinkedIn provides a suite of tools through the Services Marketplace for example, which helps connect service providers and freelancers with potential buyers. Members can now create a dedicated Service section directly on their profile, linking to their Service Page and extending their reach to LinkedIn's global community. When someone visits a Service Page, they will see mutual connections, an overview of the services provided, and ratings and reviews from past clients. This gives the service provider a competitive edge and helps prospective clients feel more confident requesting their services. 

Additionally, through our annual Top Startups list, which ranks the top startups in the UAE and Saudi Arabia based on LinkedIn’s data, entrepreneurs gain visibility into the market and insights into the skills and talent that are in demand.

IA: How does LinkedIn measure its success? What are your short and long-term plans for the region? 

AM: Our success is centered on how we can continue to create economic opportunity for every member of the global and regional workforce. We strive to help our members make new connections, unlock their next opportunity, and participate in insightful dialogue.

Through leveraging our data and our global membership of over one billion members, we are continuing to partner with policymakers to recommend policy solutions to prepare the global workforce for the future. 

With our customers, their success is our success. From the recruiter finding the right hire using Recruiter 2024 and the marketer’s campaign smashing targets through using Accelerate to the L&D professionals using LinkedIn Learning to upskill their organization’s critical skills, we continue to work closely with all our customers to support them in their success.

This is the first of a two-part interview with Ali Matar about how LinkedIn is helping professionals stay connected and how the network has changed since its inception.

See part two, Ali Matar: How LinkedIn Has Changed Professional Networking

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