2016 witnessed some major changes around the globe and the effects and consequences have been observed throughout 2017. The recovery in global growth has continued and it’s certainly been a very eventful and ever-changing time for the recruitment sector.
The business and economic world in the Middle East has certainly been changing over the last few years and recruitment has changed with it. The prevailing economic instability and the resulting subdued business confidence have been largely caused by the slump in the price of oil.
However, 2017 has seen a return of positivity in the region and with it increased business activity, further investment and a rise in demand for talent. 2018 looks to be even better, in fact the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has gone as far to say that economic growth in the UAE in 2018 will bounce back.
The awarding of Expo 20/20 to Dubai has seen an increase in demand for talent across legal, finance, sales and marketing, procurement and IT. The constant introduction of new technologies to the region and digital transformation has also increased demand in the IT sector. Highly desirable are candidates who have the ability to manage large-scale projects, as well as those with analytical and logical skills, and knowledge in business functions.
The demand for finance and accounting talent has opened up as the UAE has geared up for the implementation of the value-added tax (VAT) in January 2018 and this looks set to only increase in 2018.
The region has been consistently plagued in recent years by a skills shortage, general demand outweighing supply and slowed hiring during the recession resulting in a lack of trained and skilled candidates in 2017. With increased business activity and investment in the region there will be an ever widening gap between supply and demand and the search for talent will remain very challenging. Companies are continuing to look towards foreign markets to access the skilled employees they require.
While finding great people is certainly proving a challenge, so is keeping them. With expatriate recruitment fuelling the job market there is the ongoing problem of employees returning to their home country and this attrition rate requires recruitment levels to be constantly sustained.
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In 2017, Africa as a continent has continued to face a difficult economic climate and a number of African countries are struggling to recover economically after civil wars and political turmoil.
With commodity prices remaining low and the natural resources sector decidedly uncertain many governments have focused on industry diversification. The business models of traditional companies have been challenged by rapid advancement of the virtual economy and globalization. Today, African companies are having to urgently work on the digitalization of their activities to meet the needs of the international markets or they will be left behind.
However, despite these political and economic challenges, the drive for industry diversification has ensured that suitably qualified and experiences professionals are still very much in demand. Nationalisation programmes seen throughout Africa have seen companies seek local talent, as has the continent wide drive for succession planning which has seen expatriates who have been transferring skills to locals over the past few years, begin to hand over to their local successors.
South Africa continues to be one of the strongest economies on the African continent and remains a major destination for professionals looking to advance their careers. The South African market is following the international trend where candidates with skills and experience hold the power. This is particularly marked in sectors and industries where there is already a shortage of skills, particularly engineering, IT and the medical fields.
Head-hunting of passive job seekers has become vitally important, not only because of talent shortages but because candidates are moving away from being sold only on salary and benefits. Concepts like the value of the work that a candidate would be doing, the way in which the company operates and how the company gives back to the greater community have become very important.
Different countries have their own main economic activity, which largely determines what recruitment trends have been felt locally. However as a continent the recruitment growth can be seen are the areas of mining, finance, business outsourcing and tourism.
India’s economic success in recent years has helped to ensure that South Asia is the fastest-growing region in the world. Although late 2017 saw a dip in its GDP, India is still growing faster than any other large economy, except for China.
India has remained largely unaffected by the global economic downturn due to the government’s ‘Make in India’ campaign. This influx of foreign investment looks to continue throughout 2018 as overseas firms look to take advantage of India’s expanding infrastructure, vast resources and labour pool.
Manufacturing output has increased throughout 2017; the streamlining of the goods and services tax and the introduction of the common market, has allowed goods to begin crossing state borders quicker.
Post demonetization, the financial service sector has experienced strong growth, as banking and financial firms are putting in more efforts to strengthen their digital banking. The ‘Make in India’ campaign has had a large effect on manufacturing and the result has been demand for new hires.
Like always, attraction and retention of the talent has been a focus for recruiters. The trend towards quality and speed of hire being a key metric will not cease to grow any time soon. There has also been a move towards rethinking traditional recruitment models, big data and the candidate experience are driving talent acquisition as Millennials increasingly change the face of the Indian workforce.
It certainly has been, as always, a busy time for the recruitment sector across the above nations and 2018 looks to be just the same. What is clear, however, no matter where you are based, attracting and retaining the very best talent is a global ongoing challenge and will only get harder.