Global Insight: 7 Talent Challenges Facing the Middle East

Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) continues to grow in global prominence (see: $1.5 billion in 2012 global annualized spend), as leaders are seeking to deliver better business results and position themselves to adapt to the always evolving talent landscape. Organizations are constantly faced with talent shortages, strict rules and regulations, skills gaps and competitive pressures—and RPO has entered the conversation as the solution.

According to Jonathan Bennett, Middle East Director at RPO and strategic talent management provider, TAAHEED, the Middle East is facing many of the challenges noted above, and he believes growth of RPO across this region reaffirms that talent partnerships are helping organizations achieve a competitive advantage. 

Jonathan recently shared seven specific reasons RPO continues to expand across the Middle East:

  1. Recruitment teams are suffering from being the wrong size. During quieter times, recruitment teams are under the spotlight for not being busy enough; during busier times, teams are stretched and stressed, leading to a decrease in the quality of their performance.
  1. There is no pool of available candidates. This is largely due to visa rules. For example, there is only a very limited group of professionals that are out of work in the Middle East region. As such, recruiting top talent requires experts in active headhunting and other forms of proactive candidate search; traditional recruitment methods that are popular in the United States and Europe, such as job boards, have limited use and impact in the Middle East.
  1. Recruitment takes longer. Most professional hiring involves recruiting people from outside of the region. This often takes longer than in-country moves and typically requires more time and effort from all parties involved.
  1. There are pressures to hire local people. Leaders in each country define targets for the percentage of any employee base that should be local staff (those born locally and/or with direct ancestry to indigenous families). This is referred to as Nationalization. As economic growth has been so quick and business diversity of the region is so wide, it is a big ask to expect recruitment teams to find local people with the wide range of skills and experience needed to operate and successfully grow businesses.
  1. Processes and the use of technology are unsophisticated. Many of the businesses I visit have loosely defined recruitment processes that are underpinned by spread sheets, at best.
  1. Most businesses use agencies for the majority of hiring. The concept of direct hiring is not widely understood or implemented. This leaves many organizations seeking costly (and often unsuccessful) agency support to fill most of their vacancies.
  1. Recruitment is very reactive. Most of the people we speak to tell us that their organization does not have time to plan recruitment, and as such they end up reactively firefighting open vacancies. This means there is little time spent aligning the business strategy to the people and resourcing plan, and thus companies are finding themselves without the talent they need.

To further explore some of the RPO industry’s most pressing global trends, Pinstripe & Ochre House recently published a new video series, featuring the expertise of our Global Executive Team. In the video below, Craig Pointon, Executive Vice President, further delves into the challenges confronting organizations in the Middle East. Tune in to learn more!

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