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Middle East – Employees under increased pressure

15 July 2013

Economic constraints are increasing the strain on the employment market in the Middle East, according to recent research carried out by specialist recruitment provider, ReThink MEA. The survey was carried out with the intention of identifying current employment challenges across the region.

Many professionals are finding themselves under increasing pressure to deliver more for less and are finding career progression an increasing concern. One survey respondent cited the “slowing pace of career growth coupled with high pressure to disproportionately outperform despite [the] economic downturn” as their biggest employment challenge. This, in turn, has led to increasing concerns around job security, with one respondent claiming that “permanent, full time employment is a dream for many professionals.”

“It’s evident that the Middle East region is going through a big change in the employment arena as organisations look to move beyond the economic slump. However, the responses from these interviews reveal a number of factors which need to be addressed in order for organisations to attract and retain the best talent. If companies in the area continue down this path of increasing pressure, limited reward and a lack of opportunities. They will find themselves losing high performers to competitors and struggling to bring new talent on board,” said Gavin Smith, director at ReThink MEA.

Cultural differences and conflicting company politics also present difficulties for staff in the region. The majority of respondents found it difficult to juggle the variation in culture among stakeholders and clients in the region, with one going so far as to say that “getting all my stake holders to share the same understanding is a real struggle.”

The survey also revealed an age gap in the current workforce. One respondent claimed that age played a significant role in the recruitment process, with very few candidates looking for work over the age of 40. This was reflected in the age range of respondents, with 52% fitting in the 26-35 range and only 13% over 46 years.

The survey results also revealed an intriguing insight into the current sectors and areas which are faring well, as Gavin noted: “Looking through the information on respondents, there was a clear trend in sector and geographical spread. A vast number of respondents are currently working in the IT and Telecoms industry, suggesting this industry has fared well over recent years. The majority of current employment also appears to be centred in Qatar and UAE, with a clear trend in respondents working in these areas.”

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