The year ahead for talent, by ARC Talent’s Abdul-Rahman Risilia

New working models mean new challenges for recruiters, and are driving demand for new skillsets, writes Abdul-Rahman Risilia founder and CEO of ARC Talent.

Following outstanding circumstances that affect the globe, activities across all sectors are slowed down as people learn to navigate the aftershocks. In the UAE, recruitment was the most affected as businesses re-evaluated their path forward. However, the biggest boon that helped shoulder any challenges was the government initiatives that are still paving the path for professionals in virtually every field towards ensuring employee safety and happiness.

But even with things slowly regaining a sense of normality, there was a massive uptick in recruitment last year that is only going to increase going into 2022, especially when the boon that was brought upon by Expo 2020 is taken into consideration. A report by Mercer, for example, found that employers in the UAE will go on a hiring spree in 2022 and increase salaries by an average of 3.6 per cent.

However, while the region may be booming again, many businesses are still not fully equipped to handle this growth. A solution, then, must be established to identify and attract the best talent for businesses. Over the past few years, recruiting partners have taken utmost precedence in this regard, offering brands and companies resources and technical expertise to help grow the workforce.

This is made all the more relevant when considering that about 97 per cent of business leaders in the UAE agree that optimal working arrangements in the future would include some form of remote working. This means that the recruitment process must adapt to the changing times in the pursuit of the right talent, irrespective of the industry or their explicit proximity to the workplace.

In the media, marketing and advertising industry, individuals who are specialised in digital and data science will be in high demand and drowning in work, due to their cross-sectoral expertise.

In the overall market, we, as recruiters, will be seeking tech and product talent, not just regionally but globally as well. As businesses scale up their demands, they will have to adapt to a remote working environment within as soon as the next three to six months, especially following a new UAE labour law that was announced on November 15 to allow employees to work for more than one employer in the UAE. The power will soon be in the hands of skilled individuals who have now been granted the flexibility of choice. Making a stronger case for the argument, 44 per cent of executives are providing work-life balance programmes to prepare employees for the future of hybrid working.

Helping businesses of all sizes and scopes stand out from their competitors by optimising the process is what agencies like ARC Talent are best at. The process eliminates the need to go to multiple contingent agencies, a model that ceased to be relevant in the UK and the US about three or four years ago. We at ARC Talent help businesses identify the right candidates, secure them and ensure that a business’s branding and messaging are consistent throughout the recruitment process.

The next wave of university graduates from all over the world with specialised skill sets is already out in the market, seeking their best possible opportunity to build their talent pool. These fresh entrants into the market are being initiated at a time when companies are going on recruitment sprees. They already have needs they are seeking to satisfy right out the door, most notable of which are work-life balance and the need for mental health policies (which 52 per cent of applicants in the UAE agree will be a dictating factor in their future career choices).

Businesses slowest to adapt will quickly discover that the success rate of finding the right individual using tried-and-tested methods is on a sharp decline.