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Middle East to see growth in talent supply


Region to produce excess of skilled workers over next decade.

November 17, 2013 1:03 by

The Middle East region will produce an excess of skilled workers over the next decade, as technology advances and the number of university graduates continues to increase, according to a global research study by Towers Watson and Oxford Economics.

The report, Talent 2021, which includes in-depth interviews with leading multinational companies and surveys with 352 HR executives from around the world, suggests that perceived demand for well-educated, skilled workers from the Middle East region will require local and multinational companies to address employee loyalty and engagement to thwart a potential ‘brain drain’ in the long term.

By 2021, the Middle East region is expected to see above-average growth of more than 13 per cent in the volume of talent demanded by businesses in the region. Despite this, the number of skilled workers being produced is predicted to exceed demand, by between 0.1 per cent and 0.6 per cent per year.

The research examines how rapid globalisation and the transformation of business models in virtually every industry will affect workforce and employer needs in the future, adding that by 2021 demand for talent will surpass supply in North America and Europe.

In Western Europe, talent deficit is estimated to reach between o.4 per cent and 1.1 per cent per annum in each major economy, despite modest growth of 3.5 per cent in the demand for talent by 2021. This provides an opportunity for educated workers from the Middle East region to ‘export’ their skills to other markets where demand is higher.

Ahmad Waarie, managing consultant at Towers Watson Middle East, says that the changing global economy, advancement in technology and access to higher education have led to a market shift that will impact the supply of and demand for skilled talent in the UAE over the next decade.

“For the country to continue its growth and develop as a global business hub, it is important for organisations to retain their staff through innovative and creative ways that nurture and develop talent,” he says, emphasising that developing sustainable employee engagement is essential for any business that aims to achieve long-term growth and productivity.

He adds: “Employees that understand the objectives of an organisation, as well as their role in the process, are more likely to achieve work goals and develop a strong connection with the organisation. This, in turn, helps to improve talent retention and workforce stability.”

According to recent predictions made by recruitment experts at London Business School’s recent Middle East Management Forum, competition for talent between Qatar and the UAE is set to become fiercer, particularly if Dubai’s World Expo 2020 bid is successful. Major infrastructure projects in both countries have already dramatically increased competition for talent.


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