The Middle East is expected to have an oversupply of skilled workers in the next ten years, with advancement in technologies and an increasing number of university graduates, according to the Talent 2021 study by Oxford Economics and Towers Watson, a professional services firm.
“Going forward, there will be a slight oversupply [of talent in the Middle East]. The pool of talent, in terms of talent within the Middle East growing, both the combination of higher quality and better educated talent, and in terms of continued migration into the Middle East will continue to provide that supply,” Ravin Jesuthasan, managing director of Towers Watson, told Gulf News.
India is among eight of the top ten countries that are likely to have the highest percentage of talent surpluses in ten years, followed by the UAE in 13th place, the report said, adding that “more skilled workers will be produced than job opportunities will appear.”
Demand for employees in the Middle East and Africa will grow by 13 per cent by 2021, it said. Currently, there is a shortage of talent in the Middle East, according to Jesuthasan.
Meanwhile, in North America and Western Europe, there is a slight oversupply of talent, he said. However, over the next ten years, there will be a shortage because of a lack of immigration and declining education standards, as well as a high rate of seniors who will retire and leave the workforce, he said.
According to him, skilled workers from the Middle East can “potentially” go to Europe and the US to meet the need for talent. “The quality of education has improved in the Middle East. The capabilities of local talent significantly improved,” he said.
Meanwhile, European companies will try to retain their skilled workers and prevent them from travelling to the Gulf for work as a result of shortages in talent supply in Europe in the next ten years, Philip Thomas, lead economist at Oxford Economics, told Gulf News.
Thomas said that if gulf countries continue to heavily import talent, thereby increasingly becoming competitive markets to work in, skilled workers from India and China may prefer to work in their countries instead of the gulf, he said.
Roles of HR in changing business environment: Changes in businesses and the geography of skilled workers will call for different HR (human resources) strategies, according to the report.
HR professionals need to segment or understand the differences between talent pools, comprised of locals and expatriates, and create a value proposition to meet their needs, Jesuthasan explained.
According to him, roles that are pivotal to a company’s business model should be filled by nationals.
Additionally, he said countries should work on having a secure pool of local talent, rather than imported talent in a volatile environment, adding that expatriates could go back to their countries over time.