Employees ready to leave for better training opportunities

Author: Kirsty Tuxford | Date: 13 Jan 2016

Dissatisfaction with career development high across GCC, says region-wide poll

The vast majority of employees in the GCC would leave their current organisation for better training opportunities elsewhere.
That is the finding of a poll called 'Career Development in the Middle East and North Africa', which revealed that 80 per cent of respondents feel there is a lack of training and career development prospects in organisations across the region.
The survey by Bayt.com was conducted in nine countries, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE. Workers in Lebanon are the most dissatisfied with their jobs – 86 per cent said they would resign to work for an organisation with more training. Jordan has the lowest dissatisfaction rate, but it is still a significant 75 per cent.
“The challenge for companies is to strike a balance between meeting the expectations of employees around training and development, while delivering learning in an efficient and effective way,” says Mark Williams, head of leadership and talent at Hay Group Middle East.
“Many organisations are feeling the pinch and trying to save costs. This means that training budgets tend not to be increased, and in some sectors are being reduced. It’s important to remember that training in the traditional sense is only one aspect of engaging employees. To have the best chance of retaining their employees, companies need to combine training and development opportunities with other aspects including fair and competitive pay and benefits, providing meaningful work and effective leadership.”
The issues that HR departments need to address include a lack of promotions, inadequate appraisal performance systems, role enhancements, mentoring programmes and advanced training seminars to encourage professional growth.
Employees are taking their training into their own hands. In Qatar, 70 per cent of those surveyed said they feel encouraged to take initiative in determining their own career development.
Another reason for the itchy feet is down to employees believing that they are over-qualified for their role. In Qatar and the UAE, 35 per cent of workers questioned said this is the case. In MENA overall, 43 per cent say they are over-qualified.
“Employees in the UAE are understandably eager to craft solid career trajectories and advance their professional development,” says Suhail Masri, vice-president of sales at Bayt.com. “Unfortunately, many of them feel that their organisation is failing when it comes to equipping them with the well-rounded tools, blended learning approach and tailored training needed to ensure their career growth and progression. And this leaves employees feeling stifled in their jobs – which in turn affects their loyalty, morale and performance.”
The study also found that, while a total of 57 per cent of UAE job-holders are seeking to attain higher-level positions, more than one-third have never had a promotion within their current organisation.
“Only three in 10 current employees strongly believe that there is equal opportunity for advancement,” says Elissavet Vraka of YouGov. “Organisations in the Middle East can stand to benefit from creating transparent systems where employees feel confident about their career development.”