Talents and Opportunities in GCC

According to Ministry of Higher Education in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,there are over 150,000 Saudi students on a scholarship program studying abroad pursuing different schooling tracks .Talents are equivalently important to any organisation as financial capital and any billions-worth patents.

While it is a game of supply and demand, yet the gap is widening between what is there and what is required to fill jobs in the market. Millennials as the young untapped ocean of human resources in GCC is massive and needs to be utilised smartly. Graduates are always confused by the fact that their countries are economically booming , but it is not that easy to land a good first job. The struggle is always there, but now it is becoming one of the most important topics discussed besides the infrastructure. Whose problem this is, is it the graduates, the businesses or the education system?

Saudi scholarship students abroad
Number of saudi students on scholarships abroad 2013

Well, it is interesting to see that the young generation in the GCC are digitally connected and well informed about the global happenings, is that enough though? Are they present as they should be? Employers are always on the search for new innovations and fresh perspectives to business, but where can they find them? One of the prominent examples I have encountered few weeks back is Areej. She is Saudi and has just finished her BA in Marketing , but she is worried, it is six months  already and no promising job appearing on her radar. The first thing I did, I searched her name online and checked her profile in different networks. I realised that she is active in social and probably knows more on how to use the social networks more than half of the CMOs in KSA today. But this alone is not enough to put her in front of employers’ radar. So if we wanna get Areej the prominence she needs, she has to be a well qualified search result for the employer; We will look at three important things about her. Areej as a graduate, it’s another online graduate profile, nothing special. Her brand (name/profile) is mass and indistinguishable from other saudi marketing graduates. The online topics she consumes and the links she shares, are her interests and passion topics that will get employers to find her. So she has to work on those to focus on what kind of job and career path she wants to go after. Many will argue that social profiles are personal,

I would say yes, that is true but employers don’t have the time to scrutiny each and every profile then call them all to sort-in/out the suitable ones. So the fastest way to check, is their social networks profiles.

”Many will argue that social profiles are personal”

Is she following/friending marketing profiles ( either people or organisations), or not! Because whom is she connected to will also determine the kind of network she has.

Connections and connecting properly with the right profiles in the social scene is very important. It gives the personal brand a positioning that employers will stop for. The way she communicates and shares online is very crucial, because communication skills are very important in the workplace. And talent acquisition managers pay a closer look into that in  their screening and hiring process. So in essence, to make her prominently visible in front of the employers, she has to have a good personal brand, interests related network of contacts, and communicate smartly. She needs to work on this skill, because it pays a lot to be a good communicator.

So in essence to make he r prominently visible in front of the employer’s eyes is to have a good personal brand, industry and interest related network of contacts, and communicate smartly and work on this skill, because it pays a lot to be a good communicator.

Graduates should be clear now on how they can be found and called by employers, yet what employers have to do to be attractive enough is important, let’s check how that could happen.

Marketing department mostly owns the social and online channels in most of the organisations and that is fine. At least to cover the marketing function implications. What is important also is how the business can attract the talents out there. Areej and her colleagues guys and girls are always looking for good working environments and organisations that can help them grow  and learn more.

social media presence for businessWhile most organisations argue that they have social presence and a website, which should be enough for anyone to find them. NOW it is not really the case, and that is due to many factors, the most important ones are about the brand awareness and reputation. So employers should seriously revisit their HR and marketing strategies . This is important to integrate these two important functions to present the brand as the best option for talents and consumers out there. We are not talking exact tactics that employers should execute, but on strategy level. Your organisation is not Google so you have to do more effort to showcase your perks and why talents would favour you over the others in the market place. The online experience that your clients and consumers go through everyday is a key indicator for Areej to consider working for you in the first place. So ask yourself as an employer, what consumer experience you are providing today? Many HR professionals invest more time and money on university career day events, to be in-front of the talents, but one time impression won’t cut it through as the amount of content and brand messages these young talents consume everyday is huge and will definitely override anything else. Organisations usually broadcast and tailor content for their recruitment efforts online, they have to revise their plans and target the right people with the right message and also tone of voice.  A 22 years old saudi girl will not be impressed by formal english job Ads on Linkedin or even Facebook. Engaging with youth is a different ball game for employers today, which goes beyond campus career day events, to be something totally social and fun online. For example the job application forms in most of the employers websites , are not mobile first designs , which means youth can’t fill them to apply. Because they use their phones most of the times to consume content online, so employers have to “ adapt or die”.

The employer brand, the engagement strategies, and being adaptive to social and technology change. These are very critical rules to follow to be on talents’ radar in the region. Also youth need to be adaptive too, universities should also include such ideas in their content to educate their students on these topics and keep them updated on what the market needs and how can they respond too. Whether you are a job seeker or a business, do you have an attractive brand online?

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