Organisations across the globe struggle to attract and retain critical skills and high potential employees, with around 69 per cent of employers saying they are experiencing such difficulties - a 15-year high, according to research from ManpowerGroup.
Additionally, only 6 in 10 of the working population in MENA are happy at their current workplace as reported by Bayt.com’s recent research. As people are the greatest asset of any organisation and often the only competitive advantage an organisation has, businesses in the Middle East must comprehend the talent challenges facing leaders worldwide.
In this article, James Binding, the founder and director of Binding Partnerships outlines seven issues that need to be addressed in talent strategies at your organisation.
1. Employee's motivation
When talking with our candidates at Binding Partnerships, young professionals, in particular, are motivated by career advancement opportunities, challenging work, and job security when looking to join an organisation. With career advancement opportunities as the top attraction driver in the Middle East, providing clear career paths for young professionals should be a key focus for all organisations, especially when developing recruitment strategies.
Segmentation of the Middle East workforce however shows that the above is particularly true for employees under the age of 40. For those above 40 years of age, professional development is less relevant as their career growth is levelling off and as such base pay and job security become more important factors.
2. Flatter structures
Hierarchy is important in the Middle East, with job titles such as president and senior vice president hugely significant to individuals both within and outside an organisation. However, the future workforce cares less about titles and authority, and more about collaboration on projects and challenging roles.
In the past 25 years, a quarter of companies have moved towards flatter structures. Many organisations have removed rigid management layers in line with external benchmarking in the industry. This trend will require leaders to adopt a different style of influencing and communication, and for employees to rethink their career development.
3. Technological and digital convergence
The UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, in particular, have demonstrated a strong commitment to the development and implementation of AI technologies. Businesses in these parts of the region have been investing heavily in new technology, supported by governments as early consumers of the technology.
Some studies suggest that half of the workforce can be lost to artificial intelligence by 2030. For organisations in the Middle East, it means they need of defining the capabilities required across different business sectors, functions, departments and teams. The key is to develop people continuously, equipping them with new skills.
Transparent cultures are something 96 per cent of job seekers believe is important in their own career path. This means transparency isn’t just a way to affect engagement, but a critical part of talent attraction and retention strategy. Being open and honest about your organization’s culture, priorities, financial picture, and salary ranges in job postings. During the interview process allow candidates to self-select more efficiently. You’ll find that your recruitment efforts will attract people who are truly invested in your mission and organization and are more likely to be successful within your culture once they are hired.
5. Global workforce
Cities are becoming bigger, global hubs and competition is intensifying for these highly localised markets. Businesses must fine-tune their radars for these markets while providing a stable environment for growth. The Middle East is well-placed to nurture this global workforce, being home to some of the most committed innovators in the world. The region’s large population of young people facilitates the adoption of new ways of working and advanced technologies, and as highlighted by the BCG research on digital acceleration, Middle Eastern companies in several are well-positioned in that regard, especially in sectors such as technology or financial services.
6. Diversity and inclusion
The mounting research indicates cultivating and fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace leads among others to higher revenue growth, increased ability to recruit a diverse talent pool and 5.4 times higher employee retention. Undoubtedly, diversity and inclusion have moved away from “nice-to-have” to “must-have”. The next generation of leaders will be required to engage diverse and highly individualised teams, creating the right conditions for individuals to perform with autonomy, and ensuring that everyone feels safe and can bring their full, unique selves to work.
7. Work/life balance
Nowadays, employees experience a wide range of career and life options. Therefore, if you want to attract the top talents in your talent pool, then achieving work-life balance in your workplace is the most important tool you can imply. Flexibilities and policies that surround work-life balance make a whole new way that can definitely change the pattern. An impressive workplace with greater flexibility and a healthy work environment to balance between personal and professional lives can get you plenty of talents with less effort that you may have not been able to attract.
From the employee retention perspective, by creating a better work-life balance within your organisation, you can improve your employee’s engagement, productivity, and ultimately performance, turning your employees into loyal advocates for your brand and product.
As a leader, make sure you are tuned into each employee’s individual requirements and offer work perks and benefits. If your company encourages employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance, it boosts the likelihood of developing and maintaining an engaged workforce. Since workers can enjoy and appreciate life to the fullest extent, they will be motivated and inspired to perform their best in all that they do.
Employers are in the middle of an intense war for talent that’s not likely to let up anytime soon. Attracting and retaining talent continues to top the priority list of organisations of all sizes and industries. To remain competitive in the talent market, organisations must act and consider initiatives such as raised starting salaries, well-being benefits, or increased workplace flexibility that seem to be critical in finding professionals willing to join their businesses.
About James Binding
Prior to establishing Binding Partnerships, James was Head of Recruitment the Masdar, a Mubadala portfolio company in Abu Dhabi, where he was responsible for hiring the executive leadership team across all business functions. Since the beginnings of Binding Partnerships in 2010, James and his teams have helped hundreds of candidates find their dream roles and enable employers to secure positions with their ideal hire.
If you want to talk with James Binding about your hiring needs, get in touch today.