Up To 62% Of MENA-Based Digital Workers Are Actively Job Hunting, With 72% Seeking Better Career Opportunities

Although unexpected circumstances have led to economic difficulties over the past two years, digital talent has emerged relatively unscathed, eager to explore their options and ultimately pursue new opportunities. This widespread appetite has emerged as a key takeaway following a global survey of employees in digital roles conducted by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and The Network, a global alliance of recruitment website. The subsequent report, titled ‘Decoding the Digital Talent Challenge,’sheds light on the key factors behind people’s aspirations to move to pastures new, providing a comprehensive analysis of major international markets, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) included.

As per the survey, part of BCG’s Decoding Global Talent series, as many as 62% of MENA employees working in digital fields are actively job hunting, with better career opportunities in other roles (72%), looking for a new challenge (66%), feeling undervalued in current positions (40%), and searching for a company more aligned with personal beliefs (32%) the main motivations behind people looking for a new role. For digital employees, good relationships with colleagues and learning and skills training are among the most valued aspects of their jobs, while diversity, inclusion, and environmental issues have also increased in importance over the latest year.

Of the digital employees surveyed across the region, 78% revealed that diversity and inclusion have become more important to them in the last 12 months, and 55% added they would not consider potential employers that did not share the same views in this area. Moreover, 66% revealed that employers’ environmental responsibility has become more important to them since the same period a year ago, with 47% unwilling to consider companies that do not share their environmental views.

“Much like other markets around the world, the MENA region boasts a vibrant and opportunistic landscape for digital employees. The pandemic has accelerated digital transformation and increased reliance on related technologies, creating supplementary positions,” said Leila Hoteit, Managing Director and Partner, BCG Middle East. “However, the evolving digital climate has also seen employee preferences and perspectives manifest and multiply. Rather than money being the primary influencer behind personal motivation and professional decisions, other factors including diversity, inclusion, and the environment have become key forces for work-related happiness or dissatisfaction, as have options to work abroad and remote working.”

On the subject of relocation, the number of digital field employees willing to move to another country for work is considerable from a regional standpoint – standing at 83%. Canada is the most preferred destination where digital workers would like to relocate (16%), followed by the UAE (12%), and Germany (10%). In terms of the UAE, its appeal among digital talent also ranks among the leading nations worldwide, with Dubai and Abu Dhabi ranked sixth and ninth, respectively, as the most attractive cities for digital workers. Furthermore, remote working possibilities are similarly attractive.

The survey found that 66% of MENA talent are willing to work for remote employers with no physical presence in their country. Canada, France, Germany, and the UAE top the list where digital workers would look for remote jobs, while the convergence of fixed and flexible working would be a popular proposition. Although the COVID-19 crisis did not impact technology employees’ working patterns to the same extent as the general workforce, maneuverability here would be welcomed, nonetheless. Of the respondents, 54% would like to work remotely for 2-3 days per week, with 52% listing their desired flexibility as a combination of fixed and flexible working hours.

“Looking ahead, it’s clear that recruiting and retaining digital talent rests with employers introducing a comprehensive strategy for the same, one that presents employees with the benefits they seek and ensures their most cherished values are adopted and upheld,” added Christopher Daniel, Managing Director and Partner, BCG Middle East. “In due course, the digital marketplace will become even more competitive, driven in part by employee curiosity, expectations, and demands. And as such, employers can take note of these findings and apply lessons learned to support the goals and aspirations of themselves and their people.”