(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Gulf business leaders have called for greater cooperation alongside educators and governments in order to ensure a job-ready talent pipeline for employers in the region.
The collaboration message headlines a new survey conducted last month across the GCC countries by the global HR consulting firm, Mercer.
Respondents stated that national governments should be very active in talent planning, and highlighted graduate development programmes, local and national workforce planning and industry forecasting as the top priorities.
Educators were recognised for making progress in producing work-ready talent but need to make greater efforts via job placement programmes like structured internships and traineeships, and via input into graduate development and on-boarding programmes.
Larisa Muravska, who leads Mercer's Human Capital business across the region, says the results are not surprising but can be used as a springboard for greater tri-partite cooperation in this critical area.
"More and more, firms are asking us to help them better understand how to make effective use of their workforce - both in terms of today's business needs but also in the sort of workforce businesses will need in the future," Muravska said.
She said that businesses need certainty, and they can plan for the future with confidence knowing that capable talent is being developed locally via a structured and sustainable relationship between educators, employers and the government sector.
The Mercer survey also uncovered a number of emerging human capital trends. Employers are signalling a shift in thinking and behaviour when hiring for key roles.
"There is a clear preference for local and long-term over transient and short-term candidates, and businesses are willing to invest heavily in key roles to build their future from within the firm," Muravska said.
This is shifting quickly and appears to be wholesale across the market, she said, adding: "However, this does not extend down to more operational and task-based roles where traditional sourcing appears set to continue."
The survey confirmed anecdotal evidence that changes in skill levels, the workforce mix and organisation structure would be required in the next three years if businesses are to meet their business objectives.
About 98 per cent of respondents signalled that their businesses would need to change the way they attract, develop and retain key workforce segments in the next three years, citing workforce quality, training and development, and the mix of locals and expats as the top three pressing priorities.
A vast majority of those polled (90 per cent) signalled that within three years their workforce development strategy would require local national talent, a significant increase from 77 per cent of businesses who need local national talent now.
Importantly, most respondents noted that local national talent would sit mostly within the managerial ranks (professional level, managers and executives) and as entry-level graduates.
The survey of HR and business leaders included responses from the telecommunications, resources, consumer goods, pharmaceutical, education, health, and government sectors, with a total headcount topping 70,000 employees.