The youngest professionals (Generation Z – broadly those born between 1995 and 2014) are the ones who will be shaping the future of many companies globally and in the region.
And, it’s vital that companies understand their needs and device ways to attract and retain them as the demand for talent is only expected to go up in the coming years.
According to the PA consulting group, there is a three-point strategy that can help regional employers, those including in the UAE, avoid shortage of new talent.
Failure to grasp how to motivate and communicate with this entrepreneurial group of people may threaten the survival of those organisations reluctant to change, it warns.
To cater to these young professionals, the company advises that UAE and Middle Eastern employers should have an open-minded, connected and forward thinking working culture.
This should allow young professionals to firstly develop their own brands aligned to the organisation’s vision and beliefs and secondly, benefit from ‘rank ranging’ to replace traditional hierarchy which stifles creativity.
Last and third, companies should get new incentives like work-from-home options and unlimited annual leave, instead of outdated rewards packages, which many forward looking companies are already following.
The region is faced with talent shortage and many recruitment companies report that it’s difficult to find the right talent, especially in niche areas.
According to Sabine Vinck, Associate Dean, Executive Education, London Business School, GCC companies (including the UAE) have to prepare themselves from any kind of talent crunch that can impact adversely.
“With economic recovery in the West, many expatriates are staying at or returning to, home. As hiring returns to pre-recession levels in the Gulf, regional companies are experiencing a widening talent crunch,” she says.
Experts say employers will have to devise ways not only to attract talent but to retain as well. Prakash Menon, Executive Director of Thought Leaders Middle East foresees “a fierce war for talent among business groups and companies to retain not only their best employees but also recruit the leading achievers from among the competition’s ranks.”
This includes understanding the needs of each category of professionals.
For example, the demands of these young professionals (Gen Z) are very different from those who fall in the Gen X (1965-1980) category.
They value work-life balance, are self-reliant, adaptable and independent, and Gen Y-ers (1981-1994), who are typically team-orientated, confident and ambitious, say experts at PA.
“Generation Z has been identified as a cohort unlike any before them, with a unique and distinguishable set of characteristics, values and expectations of the world.”
So, it’s important that companies create loyalty and retention programmes that will target each segment in the most effective way to avoid talent problems in the future.