Middle East businesses are transforming: Mercer report

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to change the way organisations operate, 98 per cent of the Middle East companies are embarking on transformations and the same proportion of executives are planning organisational redesign this year, says a new study by Mercer. 


Mercer’s 2020 Global Talent Trends highlights that while 43 per cent of organisations are redesigning to become more people-centric, many businesses are undermining the importance of the employee experience throughout this transformation. This is despite research that has proven energised employees are more likely to thrive and remain with an employer, less likely to report fear of burn-out and more confident in embracing the reskilling agenda. 


Although two in three employees reported being at risk of burnout this year and 77 per cent of employees identified long-term financial planning and flexible savings or investment options as a priority, only 33 per cent of employers provide financial education for workers and 31 per cent offer mental health First Aid training. Furthermore, only 29 per cent of employers offer discounts on external activities and 15 per cent have analytics to identify the underlying causes of pay inequity, the study reveals. 


Commenting on the study results, Nuno Gomes, Head of Careers at Mercer MENAT, said: “Businesses have a financial responsibility to their stakeholders, but at the same time, they are also responsible for the financial wellbeing and safety of their employees. Furthermore, business performance greatly depends on workforce wellbeing. Decisions that impact employees must therefore always take into consideration both the economic and personal impacts. This is even more crucial now as we face the uncertainty of a global pandemic. To create a sustainable business model, organizations, especially HR leaders, must transform to incorporate a robust financial model that is complemented by an empathetic mindset enabling them to plan for the future.”


According to Mercer’s report, Middle East businesses are rapidly transforming to address future of work trends. The survey results find that 76 per cent of business executives want to focus more on environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals in order to achieve long-term sustainable growth. Regional businesses are also recognizing the need to quickly adapt to new market realities with almost all embarking on business transformations. About 86 per cent of companies say flexible working is a focus for them in 2020 which is in line with employee expectations. However, although reskilling is key to building capability, 39 per cent employers claim they do not have enough time for training and only 39 percent of HR leaders are investing in workforce learning and reskilling as part of their strategy to prepare for the future of work while 32 per cent do not know what skills their workforce has today.


Advances in machine learning also continue to permeate across industries with the use of predictive analytics nearly quadrupling in five years from 10 per cent in 2016 to 39 per cent today globally. In the Middle East, 51 per cent are currently using AI to identify when critical talent is likely to retire, 57 per cent can understand why one team is performing better than another and 49 per cent are using pulse surveys. Employees are also optimistic about the impact of AI with 67 per cent expecting positive changes to their workload. 


Furthermore, the research by Mercer also highlights a tightened career pipeline with 85 per cent of experienced workers say they plan to work past retirement age and 55 per cent of Gen Xers say opportunities to advance are limited because of longevity in the workplace.--TradeArabia News service



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