Five Minutes With…Dr Markus Wiesner, CEO, Aon Hewitt Middle East

Middle East HR practices have improved but still need to catch-up with more mature markets, says the CEO of Aon Hewitt ME.

What challenges does Aon Hewitt Middle East face in the region?
Building and growing a business in a fairly untapped market is always a challenge but very exciting at the same time and we have developed an excellent reputation in a number of the GCC countries over the last few years. Our current focus is on expanding faster in some of our core target markets, especially Saudi Arabia.

What HR challenges are unique to Gulf companies?
With its diverse workforce the challenges for HR in the Middle East are widespread. Nationalization is a key issue, but managing pay, career expectations or leadership development are also more complex than in other parts of the world.

While we have seen a lot of great improvements over the last decade, HR practices and programs still need to catch-up with more mature markets. In many organizations HR remains an operational function rather than a strategic contributor which slows down the progress of developing world-class HR functions in the region. On top of all that there is a shortage of qualified and experienced HR talent in the region that would be able to tackle these issues.

What are the current growth areas for the industry?
The HR consulting business is growing strongly at the moment, across all different areas of HR. Many organizations decide to take a closer look at their HR programmes and seek external support to come up with new ideas or help them to understand what successful organizations in the market are doing differently.

We see strong demand in rewards, talent and leadership consulting, many times helping to integrate various aspects of HR and provide more consistent HR support to the business.

Define success in five words…
Enjoying what I am doing.

Three tips to becoming the boss…
1. Enjoy your job or change it
2. Take calculated risks
3. Manage with the right balance of IQ and EQ

When you’re not at work you like to…
Travel, be out in the desert or the Omani mountains, prepare for my next triathlon and enjoy cooking at home with my wife.