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Sat 12 Nov 2016 02:50 PM

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Most Middle East firms finding tough to attract, retain talent

Willis Towers Watson report reveals 38 percent of employees are likely to leave their employer within the next two years

Most Middle East firms finding tough to attract, retain talent

Almost 75 percent of Middle East employers are having trouble attracting top performing employees, according to two surveys by Willis Towers Watson.

The surveys reveal that 38 percent of employees are likely to leave their employer within the next two years, putting more pressure on employers’ ability to keep top talent.

The Global Talent Management and Rewards Survey, a study of over 2,000 companies globally, including 50 from the Middle East, shows the labour market activity in the Middle East is increasing with almost 40 percent of Middle East employers saying hiring activity has increased over the past 12 months. Only 27 percent said it has decreased.

The labour market activity is translating into a myriad of attraction and retention challenges. For example, three quarters of employers in the Middle East have trouble attracting top performing employees (and high-potential employees (71 percent). Around half of the respondents reported challenges in retaining high-potential employees (49 percent), and top performers (49 percent).

The labour market activity is translating into a myriad of attraction and retention challenges. For example, 71 percent and 49 percent of employers are finding it difficult to attract and retain high-potential employees.

“Given today’s fast changing workplace and new demands in skills, the need for employers to successfully attract and retain the best employees has never been greater,” said Elie Georgiou-Botaris, Middle East practice leader, talent management & organisational alignment, Willis Towers Watson.

“This changing environment would cater to the employees’ need for opportunities to learn new skills, but it will not meet their need for job security” he added.

In its Global Workforce Study, a survey of 31,000 employees worldwide, including 748 from the Middle East, the consultancy revealed job security was still the third-most frequently cited reason employees join a company in the Middle East just before opportunities to learn new skills. However, more than half of employees (55 percent) said they would need to leave their organisation to progress in their careers.

“This may be attributed to the fact that employers in the Middle East are not effective in providing their employees with career advancement opportunities,” said Georgiou-Botaris.

The employers have a different perspective; 56 percent believe they are effective at providing career advancement opportunities, and 53 percent say that compared with last year, career advancement opportunities are improving.

“Given the high percentage of employees who say they need to leave their current employer to advance their career, there is a clear misalignment between employers and employees on this question”, said Marjola Rintjema, lead consultant talent & change management, Willis Towers Watson Middle East.

The study also found there is room for improvement in employee engagement in the Middle East. Only 32 percent of Middle East employees were highly engaged.

“In addition to attracting and retaining talented employees, employers need to focus on engaging employees in order to achieve better business results. We know from our research that leadership plays a critical role in driving engagement among their employees,” said Marjola Rintjema.

“When we see that only 34 percent of employees in the Middle East believe that senior leadership has sincere interest in their employees’ well-being (versus 44 percent globally), it’s clear that leaders need to work on creating trust to build an engaged workforce,” she said.

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