23rd August 2017, UAE- HR leaders in the GCC say staff retention is the single biggest challenge for them over the next 12 months, with 60% citing talent management and retention as the most significant areas of focus for the next two years.

The findings, released today alongside Hays latest market report, the DNA of an HR Leader, tell of the upcoming challenges faced by HR professionals in the region, as well as insights into what it takes to succeed at the top of the HR profession.

While employee turnover is a factor that affects companies of all sizes worldwide, it is particularly prevalent in the GCC.

“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,” says Chris Greaves, Managing Director, Hays Gulf Region.

“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.”

“However, 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. As a result, reducing staff turnover and retaining of top talent is of much greater significance to employers than previous years. Not only is top talent a critical factor to organisational success, the costs associated with finding, hiring and training resource are also substantial. It is then not surprising that retention and talent management are high on the list of priorities,” says Chris.

When analysing employee intentions, Hays 2017 GCC Salary & Employment Report released earlier this year, found that 57% of working professionals in the region are looking to switch employer at some point during 2017 – not good news for organisations hoping to establish robust, high performing teams.

So what can be done to tackle high staff turnover in the GCC?

“Employers face a two-fold challenge; not only must they benchmark their offerings above that of the competition but they must also keep costs to a minimum. Raising pay rates is only a short-term solution to reducing staff turnover and one which is both out dated and unsustainable in today’s market.”

According to Hays DNA of an HR Leader report, the secret to success lies in HRs integration with the business, as indicated by the growing 22% of GCC-based HR leaders who now sit on the Board of Directors at their respective organisations.

“In the era that we now operate, the HR department is becoming more and more influential and intrinsic to the success of organisations. Employers must work closely with their HR teams to identify and implement enriching training and development programmes that will instil a greater sense of loyalty in their employees,” says Chris.

Hays DNA of an HR Leader report

Launched in association with the CIPD Middle East, Hays DNA of an HR Leader report provides insight into what it takes to achieve a leading role in HR in the GCC region. Findings were compiled from a survey of over 300 senior HR professionals operating in the region during 2016/17. They were asked about their educational background, qualifications, international experience, responsibilities, challenges and personal aspirations. Click here to download your FREE copy of the report.