Five things GCC millennials want from their employers

Author: Criselda Diala-McBride | Date: 10 Feb 2016

Young workers place great importance on non-financial incentives such as fast-track career progression

Ghassan TurqiehOffering competitive remuneration packages has been a time-tested approach to retaining top-performing employees. But for millennial talent in the GCC, a hefty paycheque isn’t the sole factor that will entice them to stay with an organisation, cautions Ghassan Turqieh, head of human capital and consulting partner at Deloitte Middle East.
Deloitte’s annual Millennial Survey found that 44 per cent of the 7,700 millennials polled in 29 countries wanted to leave their organisation within the next two years. Many of these potential movers said this was sparked by a “lack of development of leadership skills and feelings of being overlooked” in their organisations.
“Based on our experience in the public and private sectors, millennials do see the GCC as a transient place to work across industries and sectors,” says Turqieh. “Yet we believe – based on international [best] practices, successful solutions and other programmes implemented in emerging economies – that employers in the region could adopt measures to retain millennials and harness their potential.”
Finding purpose in what they do and remaining true to their values have greatly influenced millennials’ career choices, found the survey, which recommends that organisations across the region would do well to revisit their employee retention strategies to accommodate the needs of this new breed of workers.
Motivating millennials requires an understanding of the nuanced differences between them and the previous generation, which grew up without social media, unified communications, smartphones or the internet, says Turqieh. Specifically, employers should understand the key role millennials can play in fine-tuning business processes using the technologies that are second nature to them. “Millennials cannot be treated in a transactional manner, otherwise, we lose them. The workforce is changing [and] it is time for the workplace to change, too.”
According to Turqieh, there are five things that millennials want most from their employers:
1. A sense of purpose
“Millennial employees are more driven by purpose than by profit,” he says. “They want to work for organisations that focus on improving the skills, income, and ‘satisfaction levels’ of employees; create jobs; and provide goods and services that have a positive impact on peoples’ lives.” The Millennial Survey underscored that corporate values shared with and believed by millennials are likely to promote a sense of loyalty to their employer, particularly when the organisation also demonstrates a strong sense of purpose.
2. Fast-track career progression
“GCC employers already offer a relatively accelerated route to career advancement through appealing job titles that seem to be important to millennial employees, whether they are expatriates or GCC nationals,” says Turqieh. But this type of worker also value employers who provide them with constant opportunities to hone their leadership skills and enhance learning experiences by connecting them with mentors.
3. Exposure
The GCC’s growing importance as a global events venue and business hub has been positive for millennials, because this attracts international employers looking to set up their regional headquarters. This, in turn, provides the visibility and exposure that millennial employees seek.
4. Rewards and recognitions
“Millennial employees are attracted to the competitive packages that most GCC employers offer,” says Turqieh. “This is definitely enhanced by the fact that incomes are tax free.” However, non-financial rewards such as trips, time off, and public recognition are also big motivators for millennials.”
5. Diversity
Countries across the GCC are starting to become increasingly inclusive in terms of employment and labour practices, says Turqieh: the UAE enacted an anti-discrimination law in 2015. Such policy reforms and the opportunity to interact and work with professionals from various cultures are pull factors for younger workers.