UAE retail firms face 'fierce war' for talent prior to Expo 2020

Industry expert says retailers are aggressively poaching best staff from competitors amid talent shortage
UAE retail firms face 'fierce war' for talent prior to Expo 2020
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)
By Staff writer
Sat 29 Nov 2014 10:01 AM

A fierce war for talent is looming in the UAE as companies target large-scale business growth in preparation for Expo 2020, a retail expert has warned.

An increasing number of companies in the UAE are pulling out all the stops to identify and recruit the next generation of market-savvy leaders, both from the region and abroad, as they aggressively eye expansion ahead of 2020, said Prakash Menon, executive director of Thought Leaders Middle East.

The global retail and supply chain expert warned that a talent shortage across most operational sectors is leading companies to aggressively poach the best talent from their competitors while ensuring that they retain their existing top achievers.

"With Expo 2020 only six years away, retailers must plan well in advance to meet the fast-shrinking talent pool if they have to keep ahead of their competition," said Menon.

"In the months to come, we are going to witness a fierce war for talent among business groups and companies to retain not only their best employees but also recruit the leading achievers from among the competition's ranks."

Menon was speaking at the Dubai launch of the Retail Mastery Program, a special curriculum designed by Thought Leaders Global to identify and encourage the next generation of retail leaders to deliver outstanding profitability.

Menon said that Dubai's winning the bid to host Expo 2020 was proving to be a major catalyst for development across all industry segments, sparking a flurry of major development announcements involving new shopping centres, hotels and tourist facilities to accommodate an estimated 25 million visitors.

According to Oxford Economics estimates, Expo 2020 will create more than 277,000 job opportunities in the UAE between 2013 and 2021.

"The 21st century workplace environment is more fast-paced, competitive and unpredictable than ever before. What seemed unthinkable yesterday is either commonplace or on the verge of being introduced today," he said.

Menon added that companies in the GCC will seriously need to reinvent their training and recruitment policies if they have to survive the competition.

"Most successful businesses are looking for born leaders from the competition or to rise from their own ranks to take care of the business. This is because it is one thing to develop some of the best goods and services, and another to have the right people to aggressively market them to the customers. Businesses therefore need to prioritise strategies that recruit and retain the right talent."

Speaking about employee retention, Menon said that most employees leave their present jobs not only for better opportunities with other companies but also because they find they are not learning anything new in their existing jobs.

"By giving employees greater control of responsibilities and investing in continuous training programs, regular promotions and incentives, companies can ensure that their staff remain satisfied with their personal growth and do not need to explore opportunities with the competition," he said.

Based in Dubai, Thought Leaders Middle East was founded in 2013 by Menon to help entrepreneurs, retailers, corporate professionals, CEOs and aspiring business owners, speakers and mentors achieve results and financial independence.

As former director of supply chain for Australia's leading department store, Myer, the Wharton-educated Menon is renowned for having delivered an unprecedented $25 million increase to the retail giant's bottom line within just 12 months and transforming the supply chain landscape on a global scale.

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