Attraction, Retention Key Drivers Of The UAE Labour Market

A compelling employment deal would be based on a clear pay philosophy and transparent performance culture, writes Thom Janssen, lead consultant at Towers Watson.

Organisations in the Middle East are facing greater challenges than employers in the rest of the world in attracting and retaining critical skill and high potential employees, with around 70 per cent of employers saying they are experiencing such difficulties, according to research from global professional services company Towers Watson.

Furthermore, with 75 per cent of Middle East employers saying that hiring activity has increased over the last year (versus 48 per cent globally), it is now more crucial than ever for employers to recruit and keep the right employees.

With the latest Towers Watson 2014 Global Workforce Study indicating that 43 than ever of the employees are planning to leave their respective organisations in less than two years, compared to the global trend of 26 than ever, employers are urged to implement new ways of retaining and attracting valuable talent.

Globally the main attraction element is base pay, however in the UAE, the young professionals in particular are motivated by career advancement opportunities, challenging work and job security when looking to join an organisation.

With career advancement opportunities as the top attraction driver in the Middle East, providing clear career paths for employees should be a key focus for all organisations, especially when developing recruitment strategies.

Segmentation of the Middle East workforce however shows that the above is particularly true for employees under the age of 40. For those above 40 years of age, professional development is less relevant as their career growth is leveling off and as such base pay and job security become a more important factor.

It is important to distinguish that when looking at retention, base pay remains the most important aspect for employees to consider leaving or staying with their company. Employees inherently will compare their pay packages to those of colleagues and other companies. To effectively retain their top talents, organisations need to ensure pay packages are equitable and stay in line with the market.

As reinforcement to the above, two thirds of Middle East employees think they are not paid fairly compared to their peers. Additionally, only a third of employees see a clear link between their performance and their pay. Not only does this highlight the need for organisations to understand market pay levels but it also shows the continuous struggle for organisations to implement effective performance management processes.

Ultimately, any compelling employment deal would be based on a clear pay philosophy supported by a transparent performance culture. Linking this with a strong career development framework will support organisations in attracting and retaining their talents more effectively.