Saudis keen to fill gap between education & job requirements |
Saudi Gazette - 08 August, 2012
Saudi nationals are keen to bridge the gap between their educational preparation and their actual job requirements, according to the preliminary findings of the ground-breaking Qudurat research, announced Tuesday by Aon Hewitt, the global human resources business of Aon plc.
Qudurat is the largest workplace study in the region, focused on the advancement of national talent, the single biggest HR issue in the region. Qudurat - meaning "capabilities" in Arabic - is unprecedented in scope and scale, voicing the opinion of more than 20,000 employees across seven countries (UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain and Egypt). With final results expected to be announced region-wide by December 2012, insights from the study are expected to significantly impact HR practices and human capital development in the region.
The study was first launched in 2011, and produced many counter-intuitive findings which surprised and challenged the preconceptions employers had in the region about local talent and nationals in the workforce.
Among the most unexpected findings were that Saudi nationals reported lower levels of engagement in the public sector than they did in the private sector, and that less than half had confidence in the most senior leadership in their respective organizations.
The preliminary results of this year’s report reveal that Saudi nationals are reporting a growing disconnect between their job requirements and the preparation they have received for those requirements through their education, compared to foreign workers.
In addition, Saudi nationals continue to report lower levels of work engagement than expatriates, which could impact their longer term motivation, performance and productivity at the workplace. The report shows similar results for nationals across all seven countries involved in the study.
Commenting on the initial findings, Radhika Punshi, Aon Hewitt’s Head of Applied Research, MENA, said "as Saudi Arabia’s and the region’s economy continues to recover, there will be a renewed and exponential growth focus on attracting, motivating and retaining top talent within all industrial sectors, with a greater emphasis on quality. However, more than ever before, there is a greater urgency for alignment and collaboration between the education system and the demand from employers, as an increasing number of young men and women seek opportunities for positive and productive employment."
"Our early findings point to a pressing mismatch between education and employment, significantly impacting the motivation, expectations and preparedness of current and future employees towards their jobs. On a more positive note, the fact that there is an awareness among Saudi nationals of this mismatch points toward a willingness to address this problem," she added.
This year’s Qudurat study already has over 15,000 responses from approximately 100 participating organizations in UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Egypt. The first wave of the study, concluded last year had over 4,600 respondents in total.
The study has also received strategic support through partnerships with a host of governmental organizations across the participating countries, including Abu Dhabi Tawteen Council, which spearheads the efforts of the Abu Dhabi government in sustainable Emirati workforce development; Tecom Investments in Dubai, a diversified conglomerate with strategic investments in sectors that contribute to the development of Dubai’s knowledge-based economy; Tamkeen Bahrain, which is tasked with supporting Bahrain’s private sector and positioning it as the key driver of economic development; Bahrain’s Institute of Public Administration, which aims to enhance the skills and competencies of government employees in the Kingdom, in addition to the American Chamber of Commerce Egypt and Egyptian Human Resource Management Association.
"The response and willingness demonstrated from all stakeholders for the second wave of Qudurat has been absolutely overwhelming, which clearly points to the importance and urgency placed on this issue, by employees, organizations and policy makers alike," said Markus Wiesner, Aon Hewitt’s CEO (MENA). "Through our on-going investment in the Qudurat research initiative, we aim to provide the best advice and year on year monitoring of talent trends, especially towards enhancing and shaping the nationalization and national development mandate across the GCC and broader MENA region. With data from 20,000 Employees across the region, there is no other workplace study this extensive in the Middle East."