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Latest in the Region: Dubai

The series of TALiNT Partners’ awards continued with the TIARA Recruitment Awards – UAE hosted in Dubai on 4th November and resulted in a resounding success. Ken Brotherston, TALiNT Partners’ MD, shares his experiences of a great week spent exploring Dubai and workforce trends in the region. 

It’s been over 10 years since I last visited Dubai so I was more than a little interested to see how much it has changed since I was last there. I was also looking forward to the three events we had scheduled for the week as I was hoping they would give me some insight into the talent challenges in the region and how they compared to our experiences with other markets.  

On a physical basis Dubai just keeps getting bigger; the rate of new buildings in the last decade is astonishing, as is the continuing speed with which new ones are going up. The limited time I did have by the pool (honest!) was certainly not spent in quiet contemplation, given the constant cacophony of pile drivers and dumper trucks; and if the scale of construction is a sign (*and it generally is) then there is no lack of confidence about Dubai (and the wider UAE’s future). 

But what about from a people perspective? Our three key sessions gave a wide ranging perspective: the first, at London Business School’s campus in the Dubai International Financial Centre, brought together the Head Of Staffing for LinkedIn for the region, Susana Correia, Ron Thomas, a highly experienced CHRO and one of the local market’s foremost commentators on workforce trends, and Michael Morcos, Vice Chair of the Board Practice  at Korn/Ferry, the world’s largest organisational consulting firm in a discussion with a group of executive MBAs. The key takeaway from this session was undoubtedly a confirmation that capable senior execs (and especially those with transformations and/or project management capabilities) are in more demand than ever before and, as employers become ever more flexible, on how and where their key execs work with them – it is opening up entirely new talent pools.   

Our second session of the week was our Talent Conference, bringing together key employers, staffing solutions providers and HR tech firms to look at trends across the wider market. Peter Hogg, Talent Acquisition Director, Schneider Electric demonstrated the power of creating an internal talent market place whilst Ghenwa Habbal, Head of Talent Management, Ford Middle East & Africa discussed how to use a digital capability to create a total talent approach.  

Darren Grainger, MD of NES Fircroft emphasised the importance of strategic supplier partnerships; Jonathan Rook, Managing Director of Sova Assessment highlighted the possibilities of digital assessment, not least for some of the large nationalisation programmes going on across the region.  

It was also very powerful to hear Nihal B. Hammad, Director, Human Resources, Albatha Healthcare Group, talk about diversity in the region and whilst it is important to balance D&I initiatives with local customs and practices, progress is being made. No doubt some might say not fast enough but that’s a discussion for a separate blog. 

Our final event of the week was the culmination of our TIARA staffing campaign to recognise the achievements of a range of staffing firms and solutions providers in the region and it was fantastic to see some of the impressive work being done by so many firms across the region and in particular to celebrate our Recruitment Industry Leader of the Year, Aws Ismail, of Marc Ellis Group who judges commended for his investment in establishing a strong team, an open and supportive culture and for his support for his local community through an incredibly difficult year.  

The MENA region, and the UAE specifically, is continuing to go from strength to strength. As we look at new ways of working combined with, for example, nationalisation programmes, this will help to open up new markets in which to trade or sell services and create a larger pool of educated and engaged talent. And as the region works towards a longer-term strategy of relying less on an economy based on fossil fuels, the energy and dynamism of the region will create a lot of exciting opportunities for some time to come.  

By Ken Brotherston  

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Mobile makes up 80% of the working population, says Bersin Report

Research and advisory group, The Josh Bersin Company, has revealed that 80% of the current working population is “deskless”, this according to its latest report called The Big Reset Playbook: Deskless Workers.

This latest report is based on insights from the company’s ongoing Big Reset executive working groups. The report focuses on the recommended practices needed to create optimal work experiences for “deskless” employees in retail, healthcare, manufacturing, hospitality, transportation, and other sectors.

The report also revealed that based on current research by multiple sources, it’s in fact hourly workers who take the lead in resignation statistics.

Josh Bersin commented: “Because so little attention has been given to the working and personal needs of deskless employees, companies are now seeing mass resignations, unionisation efforts, and scores of unfilled jobs.”

The seven critical components of deskless work according to The Big Reset Playbook are:

  1. Promote and enable human connections and time for creativity. Deskless workers are the closest to the customer, but a mere 6% of manufacturing companies and 7% of consumer companies design jobs to allow people time to rest, reinvent, and innovate, compared to 21% of technology firms and 29% of professional services companies.
  2. Train managers to better coach deskless workers. Many companies fail to adequately support managers in the training and development of their people. Just 11% of hospitality companies invest in developing leaders at all levels, compared to 75% of pharmaceutical companies.
  3. Make the commute easy and establish belonging at work. Because remote work is not feasible for deskless workers, they need extra support with easy and safe commutes. A sense of belonging is especially important in light of the current resignation trends and skills shortages. Leaders need to demonstrate that they are actively listening to employees and taking actions as appropriate.
  4. Support the deskless worker’s entire life. Work flexibility is often not an option for deskless workers, so they need backup for taking care of families and support for balancing finances. The vast majority live paycheck to paycheck, and only 13% of the 2.7 billion deskless workers worldwide have paid sick leave.
  5. Help deskless workers build fulfilling careers. Deskless workers – especially those who may be in jobs ripe for automation – need pathways to future-proof careers.
  6. Create a deskless-first culture. A sense of belonging and community is critically important for deskless workers, yet many are often disconnected from the overall corporate mission and values when communication channels are designed for deskbound employees.
  7. Provide tools and services geared for mobile. Deskless workers are often left behind with no access to communication, tools, or resources. Mobile-first or adaptable approaches should be implemented.

Josh Bersin, global HR trends analyst and CEO of The Josh Bersin Company, commented on the findings: “As we go into the second winter season of the pandemic, hybrid work continues to be especially important, and much work remains to be done to design a new paradigm. In parallel, we must not forget the 80% of employees around the world have a work reality that is drastically different from their managers. Work strategies must keep in mind the needs of shop floor employees, restaurant servers, nurses, doctors, pharmacists, teachers, truck drivers, and warehouse workers.

“Many things have changed since March 2020, and deskless workers are at the receiving end of many of the most difficult work challenges. In some industries such as transportation or hospitality, large numbers of people were furloughed or laid off. Healthcare employees had to face extreme health risk in coming to work. Designing a new work reality for these deskless workers is a lesson in empathy, listening, learning, and communication.”

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Workday, Inc. has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire VNDLY, an industry leader in cloud-based external workforce and vendor management technology, it was announced on 18 November. With VNDLY, Workday will provide organizations with a unified workforce optimization solution that will help organizations manage all types of workers and support a holistic talent strategy, including insight into costs, workforce planning needs, and compliance.

Details regarding proposed acquisition of VNDLY
Under the terms of the definitive agreement, Workday will acquire VNDLY for consideration of approximately $510 million and is expected to close in Q4 of Workday’s fiscal year 2022, subject to certain conditions and regulatory approvals.

Pete Schlampp, Chief Strategy Officer, Workday commented: “As organizations expand the definition of their workforce to meet growing business and talent demands, they need solutions that provide a holistic view of all worker types – including contingent workers – so they can better plan for and meet the great opportunity in front of them.”

Shashank Saxena, co-founder and CEO, VNDLY commented: “VNDLY is at the forefront of the vendor management industry with an innovative and intuitive approach. The powerful combination of our technologies and talent will help customers better manage their evolving workforce dynamics, helping them keep pace with today’s changing world of work.

“By joining Workday, we’ll be able to expand the value we bring to customers, helping provide greater visibility, collaboration, and oversight to workforce needs and opportunities.”

 

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Reskilling workforce key to plugging skills shortage hole

The newest McKinsey Global Survey on reskilling has highlighted the urgency needed to address massive skills gaps across all industries. The accelerated move towards digitization and remote work has placed new demands on employees who now require different skills to support significant changes to the way they work and to the business priorities their companies are setting.

Most of the survey respondents said that skill building (more than hiring, contracting, or redeploying employees) is the best way to close skills gaps and that they have accelerated their efforts to reskill or upskill employees since the start of the pandemic. The results also pointed towards a shift in the most important skills to develop, which leaned towards being social and emotional in nature, for example, empathy, leadership, and adaptability.

The survey suggested that the need to address skill gaps is imperative with most respondents (58%) saying that closing skill gaps in their companies’ workforces has become a higher priority since the pandemic began. And of five key actions to close these gaps – hiring, contracting, redeploying, releasing, and building skills within the current workforce – skill building is more prevalent now than it was in the months preceding the pandemic. Sixty-nine percent of respondents said that their organizations do more skill building now than they did before the COVID-19 crisis.

The redeploying of talent to new roles often requires some degree of skill building and has become more commonplace over the past year with 46% of respondents reporting an increase in redeploying talent within their organizations.

Additionally, the results of the survey suggested that this commitment to skill building represents more than a one-time investment. More than half of respondents said that their companies plan to increase their spending on learning and skill building over the next year, compared with their investments since the end of 2019.

 

 

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PageUp, the global talent management software company has expanded its UK footprint by its acquisition of eArcu, a UK-based provider of SaaS hiring solutions, it was announced today.

eArcu was founded in 2009, and its talent acquisition suite enables well over 100 customers in the UK and around the world. The combination of PageUp and eArcu’s talent management offerings will allow the PageUp Group to accelerate its presence in the UK and European markets. It will provide existing and new eArcu customers access to an expanded portfolio of recruitment marketing and talent management solutions.

PageUp CEO Mark Rice commented: “We’re excited to bring eArcu into the PageUp family. We look forward to working with the team to build on their well-deserved reputation for innovation and world-class customer service.”

eArcu CEO Andy Randall commented: “After a period of sustained growth, we’re thrilled to join forces with PageUp, a major player in the global talent management space. This will be a fantastic time for our clients who will benefit from the synergies between us, and for our team to bring their thought leadership to an ever-growing audience.”

 

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