60% of the surveyed teams said they would be witnessing an increase in hiring.

Jojo Puthuparampil is a business news writer for Inc. Arabia.

Most corporates in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are preparing for an increase in hiring, according to LinkedIn.

Jobs about operations, sales, and engineering will be the highest priority roles to fill in 2017, showed LinkedIn’s Mena Recruiting Trends 2017.

Talent acquisition will continue to be a top priority for MENA companies in the coming year. 

The talent question

Over 81% of talent acquisition leaders feel that talent is the number one priority in their organization, according to the report that took into account the survey responses of over 170 corporate talent acquisition leaders across MENA.

This will gain even more prominence in 2017.

This finding also aligns with another report that found that close to 15% of companies in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region do not have the talent to accomplish their goals for 2017.

The report by London-based Hays Recruiting found that competition from peer firms, lack of suitable candidates and unrealistic salary expectations are among the top challenges for organizations while they try to hire resources.

The survey found career development, benefits package, organizational culture, work-life balance and job security as key factors for people while considering employment.

A part of respondents also believed flexible working as an important factor when considering a new role.

Some will decrease headcount

While over 60% of the surveyed teams said they would be witnessing an increase in hiring, 29% stated that they would decrease hiring. More than 10% said budgets and recruiting team headcounts would stay flat.

MENA businesses will continue to use social, professional networks to identify and hire new talent, strengthening the reign of social media, according to LinkedIn’s research.

Since referred employees are faster to engage, perform better, and stay longer in the company, employee referrals as well as third-party website/online job boards will continue to be used to facilitate better hiring.

Despite talent leaders sharing that employee referrals are one of the top sources of quality hires, most of them barely invest in building out a robust referral program.

Besides, 22% of hiring teams will continue to invest their budgets in job postings and recruitment agencies in 2017, the survey found. In addition, if money weren’t a constraint, talent leaders would invest in employer branding and training for recruiters.

While more than 50% said they would prioritize investing in long-term strategic plays like employer branding; 51% would invest in upskilling their team.

The MENA HR department

“The recruiting organization is not the flashiest department; it doesn’t directly bring in revenue or create game-changing products. Yet, it is the quiet enabler behind company successes, and this has not gone unnoticed,” said Ali Matar, head of LinkedIn Talent Solutions for growth markets, Southern Europe, Middle East, and North Africa.

In recent years, talent and HR leaders in Mena have gained a prominent spot on the C-suite table, driving decisions about the future of the company. Talent leaders feel confident that their department is helping define the future of their business, according to Ali Matar.

“The demand for operations, sales, and engineering talent is so prevalent that recruiting teams in MENA have to start thinking more strategically about how to find and hire these talent pools,” Ali Matar said.

Relying on data to pinpoint locations where the supply of talent is higher than the demand is a crucial first step. Another successful tactic is targeting each of these functions with highly customized employer branding content, according to Ali Matar.

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