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Mon 24 Oct 2016 11:28 AM

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Revealed: Seven recruitment trends in the Middle East

What is social recruiting? It’s when employers use social platforms to recruit candidates for future employment. It is a great way to hire online, as employers get a feel for the jobseeker beyond the CV

Revealed: Seven recruitment trends in the Middle East
Suhail Masri, vice president of employer solutions at Bayt.com.

Despite many challenges, start-ups are emerging as a megatrend in the Middle East region and have been a proven driver of innovation and job creation.

According to the Bayt.com ‘Middle East Job Index’ survey, published in February 2016, 64 per cent of SMEs indicated their intention to hire new employees within the next three months, and 74 per cent said they were going to hire in a year’s time.

Another study by Bayt.com and Wamda, entitled ‘Access to Talent for MENA’s Entrepreneurs’, published in July 2016, has shown that 90 percent of entrepreneurs in the MENA region plan to hire within the next year.

With the prevailing economic uncertainty in the region and evolving labour market needs, the start-up scene is definitely changing, and we expect recruitment in this sector to change as well.

Here are seven recruitment trends currently affecting the sector:

New tools and technologies

We all know that “time is money”, and today’s budget-conscious HR departments are anxious to save both.

The Bayt.com ‘Skills and Hiring Trends in the MENA’ poll, published in January 2015, shows that 48 per cent of MENA companies take quite a long time to fill a job vacancy: between one and three months.

Luckily, the Internet has emerged not only as a faster, easier and more effective way to source top talent, but it has also proved to be an efficient tool to manage the entire recruitment process in start-ups. With the technologies made available today, companies can now search through millions of CVs and narrow them down to the exact candidate they are after, using various filters, such as the candidate’s location, skills, certifications, and similar.

Low-cost training

Today, employees everywhere are eager to build solid career trajectories and advance their professional development. According to the Bayt.com ‘Career Development in the MENA’ survey, published this year, a lack of career development prospects can radically make or break employee loyalty and retention.

Many employees feel that their company is failing when it comes to equipping them with the learning and training opportunities needed to ensure their career growth, and this leaves employees feeling stifled in their jobs.

Among the many cost-efficient resources available online for training and career development, you can find online courses, which provide an array of courses, tests, seminars and other education programmes, offered by the best learning providers in the world, for your employees to choose from.

Employer branding

The Bayt.com ‘Arab World Online 2014’ survey has revealed that 78 percent of professionals in the Arab world region spend more than two hours on the Internet every day.

Recruiting talent online is certainly an option worth exploring, but it can reach its full potential only if you dedicate enough time and efforts to build a strong employer brand, especially if you know that eight in 10 professionals check a company’s online profile before applying for a job at the company, as per the Bayt.com ‘Social Recruiting in the Middle East and North Africa’ poll from October 2014.

The best way to brand your company online is by creating and customising a premium company profile on highly-trafficked websites.

Social recruiting

Professional networking websites are the new frontier in online recruitment and a top choice for identifying leaders in their area of expertise, especially at the senior end of the career spectrum.

This could be attributed to the fact that 81 per cent of professionals feel that these platforms provide a way for employers and job seekers to engage together and exchange views and know-how, according to the Bayt.com ‘Social Recruiting in the Middle East and North Africa’ poll.

Collaborative hiring

The practice of involving multiple team members into the final hiring decision is definitely a trend on the rise. The collaborative model has proved to have positive effects on the hiring results and on team satisfaction and employee retention.

Entry-level candidates

Millennials are the workforce of tomorrow since they bring in fresh ideas and are interested in making their workplace more innovative. Millennials are also willing to learn and make mistakes in order to learn and grow. They are the digital generation, and can manage social media and other digital roles better than any other generation.

According to the Bayt.com Fresh Graduates in the MENA survey, published in July, fresh graduates have lower expectations on salary (45 per cent), are compliant and willing to follow orders (34 per cent), and are able to handle more challenges (25 per cent). Start-ups will need to recruit this cohort of digital natives, and ensure that their journey throughout hiring and onboarding is supported by proper mentorship and guidance.


In these days of outsourcing, cost-cutting and radical shifts in the ways companies operate, there seems to be a high demand for freelancers in the region, with 53 percent of companies throughout the MENA outsourcing work to freelancers, according to the Bayt.com ‘State of the Freelance Market in the MENA’ poll from June 2013. Hiring freelancers is cheaper and make a good contingency plan between hires; freelancers are also seen to be flexible and adaptable.

The reason behind this trend is simple: as more and more professionals seek a better work-life balance, many of them see a working-from-home arrangement as an ideal means to remain in the workforce while continuing to being employed, thereby maintaining all the tangible benefits of being part of an established company, while enjoying all the advantages of being based at home. As a result, companies are required to adopt more flexible policies to accommodate shifting workplace priorities.

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