LinkedIn study reveals MENA job seekers’ top priorities – 51 percent ‘actively searching’ for new roles

Ali Matar, Head of LinkedIn Talent Solutions, Southern Europe, Middle East and North Africa
Ali Matar, Head of LinkedIn Talent Solutions, Southern Europe, Middle East and North Africa

MIDDLE EAST: LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, has announced findings from its annual 2016 MENA Talent Trends study providing new insights into job seekers’ top priorities, and how recruiters can effectively engage potential candidates and compete for the best talent.

The findings ultimately reveal that almost everyone is interested in hearing about new job opportunities, even if they are not actively looking for a change. In fact, a massive 94 percent of professionals in MENA said they are interested in learning about new jobs. Moreover, approximately 51 percent of respondents in the MENA survey said they were “actively searching” for new roles, which is significantly higher than the global average of 36 percent.

“The region’s job market is evolving as a result of many external socio-economic factors. In this environment, it is essential for companies to assess their recruiting strategy and ensure it is aligned with the priorities of today’s professionals,” says Ali Matar, Head of LinkedIn Talent Solutions, Southern Europe, Middle East and North Africa. “Investing in channels for the public to research jobs before they apply and empowering employees to contribute towards recruitment needs are particularly advantageous. Getting specific about your company’s culture and values will also meet job seekers’ desire to know more about their long-term prospects before jumping into a role.”

Roadblocks in finding jobs
Given the challenging job market globally, the survey investigates the biggest roadblocks that candidates in the region face from companies when finding jobs. Compared to their global counterparts, professionals in MENA don’t hear back as frequently after applying to a company (32 percent of respondents in MENA cited this as a challenge), and more find it difficult to negotiate their salary and role with companies compared to the global average (31 percent of respondents in MENA cited this as a challenge).

One possible reason for this disparity is the transparency of information-or lack thereof-between recruiters and job seekers. The survey found that the number one request from candidates to know about prospective companies is to understand the company’s culture and values (54 percent cited this as a priority in MENA). This was then followed by a greater understanding of perks and benefits, as well as the corporate mission, company leadership, and the company’s actual products and services.

“I would do extensive search about the company from all the available sources. I want to know details about its leaders, employees, business environment, successes and failures,” comments Saeed Mubarak, Intelligent Field Team Leader at Saudi Aramco and one of the participants in the survey.

Learning about and landing new roles
In an effort to better connect talent and opportunity, the survey also explores how people learn about new jobs and ultimately land their desired role. Compared to their global peers, professionals in MENA are actually more likely to find out about a new job from a corporate recruiter (13 percent) or someone in their personal network (25 percent) rather than reading online articles about the company. After hearing about these positions, job seekers in MENA tend to not apply right away, with more than half first researching the company in detail and nearly half saying that they update their resume before applying.

The use of technology is also instrumental in landing the final job. Professionals in MENA were found to be more likely to land a new job by applying through social networks like LinkedIn and through company careers websites than their global counterparts.

The annual Talent Trends report from LinkedIn is based on surveys of over 33,000 professionals around the world. The survey includes input from 3,298 LinkedIn members in the MENA region between January and March 2016, of which 35 percent of these were citizens of MENA countries.

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