Up to 75 per cent of Middle East employers say hiring activity has increased over the last year, compared to 48 per cent globally, according to a new study from professional services firm Towers Watson.
However, the study also revealed that 70 per cent of regional employers are struggling to attract and retain skilled and high potential employees.
The majority of employees in the Middle East stated career opportunities and job security as the most important considerations when looking for a new role, compared to base pay globally.
Remuneration was found to be even less important to the youngest segment of employees – those under 30 – who give greater value to career opportunities, learning opportunities and challenging work, the report stated.
“As firms endeavor to achieve profitable growth, they should focus on crafting and communicating an employment deal that will help to attract and retain employees with critical skills, and engage all workers by striking a reasonable balance between employee and employer needs and expectations,” said Ahmad Waarie, MD at Towers Watson Middle East.
“Improving career opportunities should be a key focus for all organisations.”
However, while pay is not a key attraction driver for employees under 40, it is still the most important factor for those above 40 years, with remuneration also serving as a key retention tool for all age groups.
Hence while salary may not be the main reason for joining a company, it can become a reason to leave if pay does not keep pace with the employee’s development and increasing added value, the study said.
Currently, companies are falling short in the delivery of their pay programmes, it added.
Only 36 per cent of employees in the Middle East claimed to be highly engaged, with less than one third of all employees saying they prefer to remain with their current employer.
“Our research shows that only a third of employees see a clear link between their performance and their pay, while two thirds of Middle East employees think they are not paid fairly compared to their peers,” said Waarie.
“This reflects our experience that many organisations in the region do not execute nor communicate their pay programmes effectively.”
According to new research from Aon Hewitt, companies across the GCC are predicting average salary increases of 5.1 per cent for 2015. The figure is slightly lower than 2014 and 2013 forecasts, which stood at 5.5 per cent and 5.4 per cent respectively.