Growing talent supply in the Middle East as a solution for Western talent gap

The Middle East is known as region with huge economic potential, a wealth of resources and repeating political tensions. However, countries in the Middle East might emerge as a new talent pool, a recent global research study by Towers Watson and Oxford Economics indicates. According to the report ‘Talent 2021’, the Middle East will produce an increasing number of skilled workers during the upcoming decade. The report also described technological advances and a growing number of university graduates in the region. The results are based on in-depth interviews with leading multinational companies and surveys with more than 350 HR executives from around the world.

The report expects to observe two trends until 2021: While the Middle East region is expected to see an outstanding growth of more than 13 percent in the volume of talent demanded by businesses in the region, the talent supply will exceed the demand by between 0.1 percent and 0.6 percent per year. The opposite holds true for the American and European countries. The report expects to observe a talent gap in those parts of the world; estimates of the talent shortage in Western Europe range between 0.4 percent and 1.1 percent per annum. The growing talent supply in the Middle East therefore offers companies some possibilities to satisfy their talent demand.

Recruitment experts at London Business School already stated that competition for talent between Qatar and the UAE is becoming fiercer, especially in infrastructure projects. Talent import cannot be compared to resource import concerning the complexity and preconditions necessary for successful exchanges. “Companies need to create an open-minded surrounding for incoming employees from different regions”, Diversity expert Michael Stuber recommends. “The talent transfer will only help companies if they run effective Diversity programmes to facilitate positive understanding and Inclusion. Otherwise diverse workforces will not perform.” Companies should take into account religious and ethnic characteristics as well as language barriers – and of course Gender as an additional dimension.