The race to attract top talent is only going to get more heated in the coming years, leading organisations to work harder on creating positive corporate cultures that focus on helping both the personal and professional development of their employees.
"When it comes to managing talent some of the key challenges that companies are facing revolve around learning how to manage a multi-generational workforce and retaining talent," said Alexis Lecanuet, regional managing director for Accenture in the Middle East and Turkey.
"Managing today's workforce has become more challenging than ever. With the rapid rate of innovation and the widespread use of technology, generational differences have become exacerbated. Comprised of baby boomers, Generation X and millennials, and with Generation Z starting to enter the workforce, companies will need to be aware of the differences between each generation to ensure that they are engaging all employees. In the UAE, especially, there is an additional layer of complexity added on by a workforce made up of over 200 different nationalities."
In 2018, the UAE's workforce was made up of over 200 nationalities and recorded the largest number of expats in the workforce at 91 per cent. When it comes to gender equality, the UAE is already well on track to becoming one of the world's top 25 countries for gender equality by 2021. Currently, the country ranks 41st on the International Gender Equality Index. The government has also created various bodies such as the UAE Gender Balance Council with the goal of enabling women to play a bigger role in the country's development.
"The effect of this positive environment cannot be overlooked," said Lecanuet. "Our research has shown that an empowered workplace, which means a workplace where there is a culture of equality and where employers make decisions that positively impact employees, can have a more positive impact on employees' capacity to innovate than even pay rises or advanced degrees. In other words, empowered employees could raise global GDP by $8 trillion by 2028. The UAE is definitely on route to seizing this potential."
Mohamed Al Maskari, director of government affairs at Al Maskari Holding, added that the UAE has unique talent management challenges that require differentiated solutions.
"Local circumstances such as the large proportion of foreign workforce driven by the speed of the UAE's evolution, a relatively high set of employee expectations, a historically more conservative view on women's role in the workplace, and a true 'competition for talent' between private and public sector due to the strong and large government sector, all act to create different employee market conditions and dynamics. Accordingly, viable talent management solutions will have to be tailored to these specific market conditions."
Louise Karim, managing director at Mums@Work, recalled that in the past, there were many talented professionals who would move to the UAE in an instant. However, as the cost of living increases, attracting talent from overseas is becoming increasingly difficult as employers must now look to incentivise candidates to move to another country and restart their lives.
"Whilst there are lots of job searchers in the market, the quality is not always there. Retention of talent in the region is becoming more of an issue, with people either leaving the region for more attractive packages and roles or simply being attracted to competitors for higher salaries or indeed a better working culture which is often down to flexibility," she said. "There is a constant need to create a culture of collaboration and innovation," stressed Sidh N.C., director of QNA International.
"The new-age workforce view workplace diversity as the combining of different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives, and they believe taking advantage of these differences is what leads to innovation. Employee engagement remains a top challenge for the region with majority of the workforce comprising of millennials, who have a remarkably different perspective on what they expect from their employment experience. The new age workforce values personal health and well-being and employers are increasing their focus on well being programs that blur the line between work and social life."
Copyright © 2019 Khaleej Times. All Rights Reserved.