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ME firms facing challenges in human capital trends

BEIRUT, June 15, 2015

The readiness to address challenges in learning & development, reinventing human resources (HR), leadership, and culture & engagement is decreasing in Middle East organisations, a report said.

This raises the question of whether leaders are doing enough to prepare their organisations to respond to today’s most pressing business and human capital needs, added the Global Human Capital Trends report published by Deloitte, a provider of audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services.

“Demographic changes and generational transitions are having major impact on the workforce as well. Millennials now make up more than half the workforce, and leading organisations are addressing their needs through accelerated leadership paths, a greater sense of purpose and mission, and greater flexibility in work places, schedules, and tasks,” said Ghassan Turqieh, partner and Human Capital consulting leader at Deloitte Middle East.

“HR stands at the center of these changes.  But achieving the necessary transformation of work to effectively respond will require bold and innovative thinking, questioning longstanding practices and habits, and a greater focus on culture as a key element in driving both workplace change and business success,” he added.

According to Deloitte, the top four challenges facing Middle East organisations are:

Learning and Development

“Learning and Development” is considered according to surveyed leaders as the most important talent-related challenge faced by organisations in the Middle East. Despite this, only 37 per cent of them believe that their organisations have the necessary tools and programmes to meet this Human Capital challenge. Moreover, the “capability gap”, defined as the difference between an organisation's "readiness" to address the issue and the organisation's "importance" of that issue (measured on a 0-100 scale), has widened year-on-year.

Reinventing HR

Business and HR leaders in the Middle East see an urgent need to reinvent the HR function and make it a true partner to the business. This challenge has progressed from the ninth place in 2014 to second place in 2015 with 91 per cent of respondents considering it as ‘important’ or ‘very important’ compared to 66 per cent last year, signalling a less than satisfactory HR output and impact.


The Deloitte survey finds that leadership, one of the challenges that has been pressuring business and HR leaders for several years, is still at the top according to this year’s surveys with 84 per cent of respondents citing it as ‘important’ or ‘very important’. Moreover, the demand for leadership at all levels is increasing, especially among middle management.

Despite its importance, programmes are not yet or fully in place to develop leaders among organisations and only 28 per cent of respondents believe their organisations are prepared to further develop leaders and better equip them to engage employees, drive innovation and set organisational objectives.

The capability gap of leadership is striking in the Middle East: organisations are struggling in the identification and development of leaders at various levels. Not having the right leadership would impact retention as people quit bad leadership and not necessarily organisations.  

Organisational culture and employee engagement

“Culture and engagement”, a top trend in the global market, is also considered an issue of paramount importance in the Middle East with almost 90 per cent of respondents rating it is as ‘important’ or ‘very important’. Talent diversity in the Middle East probably plays a big role in making this challenge very important. Yet, organisations lack the readiness to meet this challenge: 73 per cent rate their organisations as ‘not ready’ or ‘somewhat ready’.

“The need for gaining a clear understanding of the organisation culture and re-examining how companies manage, develop and inspire people is obvious based on the results of the survey,” explained Turqieh.

“There is an urgent mandate to treat leadership development as a long term investment across levels rather than a discretionary training expenditure when times are favourable,” he added. – TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Learning | Human capital | Deloitte |

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