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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

Staff retention to be the biggest challenge for Gulf firms in the next 12 months

Challenging economic climate and influx of new business heightens competition for labour

In terms of work-life balance, 48 per cent of UAE respondents said they were satisfied. Sarah Dea / The National
In terms of work-life balance, 48 per cent of UAE respondents said they were satisfied. Sarah Dea / The National

Retention of employees will be the biggest challenge for human resources managers in the Arabian Gulf region over the next 12 months, according to a report by recruitment agency Hays, as a more subdued economic climate and an influx of newer businesses chips away at employees’ loyalty.

Nearly 60 per cent of HR leaders surveyed by Hays said talent management and retention will be the main area of focus in the next two years.

“The relatively relaxed entry and employment conditions of the region mean that the labour market has always been transient in nature, with higher attrition levels compared to other geographies,” said Chris Greaves, managing director for Hays Gulf Region.

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“We see many expat job-seekers migrating to the region for part of their career, in light of the tax-free salaries and to save money, before moving back to their home countries. In addition to this, local employment laws allow labour to move relatively freely between employer and therefore many individuals will work for more than one organisation during their time in the GCC.”

About 57 per cent of working professionals in the region are looking to switch employers during 2017, according to a Hays survey published earlier this year.

“The challenging economic climate of the past two years in response to weak energy prices, coupled with the continuous influx of new business ventures has amounted to a more competitive landscape for organisations,” said Mr Greaves. “As a result, reducing staff turnover and retaining of top talent is of much greater significance to employers than previous years.”