How to attract and retain talent in 2024, according to a LinkedIn executive
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How to attract and retain talent in 2024, according to a LinkedIn executive

How to attract and retain talent in 2024, according to a LinkedIn executive

LinkedIn data reveals that 62 per cent of UAE and Saudi professionals will seek out new opportunities that better align with their needs and values in 2024

Gulf Business
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The MENA region, just like the rest of the world, has seen an unprecedented pace of change in the workplace in the last few years.

It’s hard to contest that the starting point was the global pandemic, which brought our physical workplaces to a halt and accelerated digital transformation. The Great Reshuffle quickly followed– a natural result of introducing flexible work models and a surge in interest in learning.

Almost overnight, professionals were thinking not just of what they wanted to do for work, but “how” and “why”.

LinkedIn’s latest insights show that professionals now want more flexibility, higher salaries, better work-life balance, and more strategic learning opportunities.

If these factors weren’t enough, Generative AI took the world by storm in 2023.

Research showed that workers in our region were among the most optimistic about AI adoption and integration into their everyday tasks: 81 per cent of UAE professionals and 86 per cent in Saudi Arabia said they view AI as their invisible teammate.

So how does this change the hiring industry?

The compounded effect of these changes reshaped employee expectations. Hiring managers are now seeing candidates ask more directly for what they want: hybrid work, competitive compensation, learning paths and more.

The hiring market in the UAE and neighbouring countries has been largely stable compared to other key markets around the world: the UAE in fact emerged as one of the most resilient international markets, with a 0.3 per cent annual increase in hiring, up by 30 per cent compared to pre-pandemic December 2019.

So one might assume that employers have the upper hand– but they don’t.  LinkedIn’s latest data tells us that 62 per cent of UAE and Saudi professionals surveyed across the board will seek out new opportunities that better align with their needs and values in 2024.

This could lead to a significant increase in the employee turnover rate – making talent retention one of the biggest challenges for hiring managers.

The reason behind that challenge is simple: the Great Reshuffle not only changed the vantage point of professionals, it also gave way to a growing realisation among hiring managers that building and maintaining top talent has become crucial to building resilient and successful teams, and that outdated hiring practices that only rely on traditional qualifications and downplay skills are causing talent loss.

In other words, employers who invest in their people will be the ones that come out stronger.

Here are five actionable steps that hiring managers can take to make the most of the hiring industry evolution

#1: Adopt skills-based hiring – The skills required to do the same job have changed by 25 per cent globally since 2015, and this number is expected to reach 65 per cent by 2030.

To bridge the growing skills gap, building a skills taxonomy tailored to each role in your organisation will help you understand exactly what each role requires and where your organisation’s skills gaps lie. Recruiters are on to this: 48 per cent of hirers on LinkedIn now explicitly use skills data to fill their roles.

#2: Create a continuous learning culture – Hiring managers now understand that creating a culture of continuous learning is one of the top factors that help retain top talent.

With GenAI sweeping the workforce, internal learning and development (L&D) programmes have become even more important. Employers in the region are taking steps to support their workforce through this change, with 46 per cent saying they have GenAI L&D programmes and 50 per cent saying they are supporting the upskilling of employees through the use of online L&D programmes.

In parallel with AI upskilling programmes, there is a growing focus on soft skills, i.e. skills that only humans can do such as problem-solving, time management, and leadership. 70 per cent of US executives for example agree that soft skills are more valuable to their organisation than AI skills.

#3: Embrace hybrid – 74 per cent of professionals surveyed in the UAE and Saudi Arabia say flexible work arrangements, such as hybrid working, are essential for them when pursuing a new position. This makes it a crucial factor for companies aiming to attract and retain talent.

#4: Use AI-enhanced recruitment tools – AI is enhancing the recruitment environment. By using AI-powered tools, hiring managers can gain expansive talent insights to target the right candidates for the right roles quickly. It makes the day-to-day work easier so hiring managers can spend more time on the people-centric part of their jobs.

#5: Internal mobility – To safeguard against employee turnover, employers should not only aim to build the skills of their talent pool but should proactively offer opportunities for internal mobility and career growth. Rewarding employees with such opportunities as they learn new skills and take on more challenging tasks can further boost retention.

An employee who has made an internal move has a 75 per cent likelihood of staying with their company after two years. This drops to 56 per cent for employees who haven’t changed roles.

Read: What is the average salary increase in the UAE in 2024?


The research was conducted by Censuswide, among a sample of 250 hiring managers (middle management+) aged 18-77 in Saudi Arabia and UAE. The data was collected between December 2023 – January 2024.

A second survey was conducted among 1,023 professionals in full time or part time employment (excluding business owners and manual unskilled workers) across Saudi Arabia (512) and the UAE (511) between November and December 2023.

This article was penned by Arda Atalay, regional director – MENA, LinkedIn

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