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Three-quarters of respondents in the Middle East research companies online before accepting a job offer

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The latest poll from Bayt.com, done in partnership with Naseba, reveals that 85% of respondents believe that a company’s engagement with job seekers on social platform is positive for employer branding

Beirut, Lebanon – The success of any business largely depends on the quality of the employees it attracts and retains. According to the recent Bayt.com “Trends in Employer Branding in the Middle East and North Africa” poll, conducted by business facilitation company Naseba and Bayt.com, the Middle East’s leading job site, 84.5% of the respondents believe that engaging with potential job seekers on social platforms is positive for a company’s employer branding.

The study revealed that a company’s online presence is vital in shaping its perception among potential employees. A whopping 75.6% of respondents in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) usually research a company online before considering a job offer.

When visiting a company website or an employer’s branding page, job seekers named several features they would love to see, including a ‘reasons to join’ section (32%), a ‘description of the vision, mission and culture’ (9.5%), ‘testimonials and actual experiences from employees’ (8.4%), ‘company awards and accolades’ (4.2%), a ‘letter from the CEO’ (4%) videos of the teams (3.2%), or an ‘FAQ in a tone [they] like’ (2.7%). 36% of MENA respondents would like to see all of these features equally on an employer’s branding page.

In terms of answering the age-old question “Whose territory is this, exactly?” respondents believe that employer branding is the joint responsibility of the HR department and the marketing department, at 18.7% equally.

And companies looking to position themselves as a great place to work need to pay close attention to their posts, tweets and snaps: 39.8% of respondents state that social media is the most important channel for a company to brand itself as a great employer in the region.

“Employer branding is more important than ever before,” said Suhail Masri, VP of Employer Solutions at Bayt.com. “With almost 85% of respondents believing that engaging on social platforms is positive for an employer’s brand, it is essential that companies mandate a social media strategy that also includes recruitment objectives. We see many companies and individuals engaging daily on Bayt.com’s social platforms, like Bayt.com Specialties and Company Profiles. In fact, over 10.5 million professionals in the region have opted to go public with their profiles on Bayt.com, and are engaging with each other and with brands online, so companies should really not miss the opportunity.”

Respondents named ‘reputation and culture (11.9%) and ‘work environment’ (11.3%) as the two most important aspects to attract talent, while rewards and recognition came last with 5.3%. Respondents also value ‘training and learning opportunities’ (10.7%), ‘leadership in industry’ (9.2%) and ‘career advancement opportunities’ (9%). The largest proportion of respondents agreeing that all aspects are “equally” important (42.6%).

Alongside all of these “dos”, respondents also identified “don’ts”. Being known to let go of people without valid reasons and having unhappy employees came as the two worse mistakes a company could make, according to 17.3% and 13.7% of respondents respectively, while ignoring applications of candidates came third (11.5%) and ‘weak job descriptions lacking detail and full of mistakes’ followed (5%). 34.2% agreed that avoiding all these factors together is equally important for a company.
When considering a new job, the most important features for MENA respondents are that ‘the company offers great career opportunities’ (12.8%), ‘the company is known to be a great place to work’ (9.3%), ‘the company pays the highest salaries’ (9.3%), ‘the company offers the best training’ (7.3%), ‘the company has a great leadership’ (4.9%), ‘the company has great products and services’ (3.0%), and ‘the company is prestigious’ (2.7%). Again, the majority (43.2%) of respondents consider all of the aforementioned reasons to be equally as important for a new job.

Being perceived as a great place to work results in better employee engagement, according to 23.4% of respondents. Other benefits include a higher job acceptance rate, according to 12.4% of respondents, and ‘recognition as an employer of choice’ (11.4%). These results comfort the sentiment of HR practitioners who, over the past year, have increasingly focused on fostering employee engagement and building a corporate culture as a way to attract and retain top talent.

‘Wellness policies like free gym subscriptions and healthy, fresh food’ was cited as the most important perk/benefit in their place of employment for 21.6% MENA respondents, this was followed by ‘flexible hours and dress code’ and ‘regular fun office events and activities’ for 18.9% and 11.2% respectively.

In terms of current places of employment, professionals were asked if their companies have an employee referral program, with only 15.9% stating that it does, and 13.1% of employed respondents stating the opposite. Only one in five employed respondents said that their company had a clear branding strategy (20%), while 9.4% agreed ‘to some extent’.

“At a time when cost and HR optimization are becoming essential to conducting business successfully in the region, competition to hire the best talent is growing fierce. This poll has revealed the vital importance of employer branding in allowing companies to differentiate themselves as great places to work, and thereby attract the best and the brightest candidates in the Middle East,” said Sophie Le Ray, CEO of Naseba. “If we wish to stay competitive, we need to base our corporate branding and hiring practices on the most recent available data and on surveys like this one. Flying blind is not an option.”

“When hiring new talent, the need for branded differentiated job postings has arisen as competition amongst companies looking to hire the best talent grows. Today, collaboration between various companies is necessary to ensure they achieve their objectives optimally to further their own successes. Talentera, for example, is a comprehensive recruitment solution by Bayt.com through which employers can create branded career channels to source, track, assess, and hire professionals right through their own websites. Through beautiful career portals and applicant tracking systems, Talentera provides state-of-the-art tools, such as interview scheduling, social recruiting, task management, requisition workflows and recruitment analytics, and is already helping over 3,000 recruiters and 250 companies streamline their process and make better hiring decisions every day,” said Suhail Masri, Vice President, Employer Solutions, Bayt.com.

Data for the 2016 Naseba and Bayt.com ‘Trends in Employer Branding in the Middle East and North Africa’ poll was collected online from March 17 2016 to April 20 2016. Results are based on a sample of 6,954 respondents. Countries that participated are the UAE, Bahrain, Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Tunisia, Qatar, KSA, Yemen, and others.

About Marc Mcilhone

Marc Mcilhone
Marc Mcilhone is ArabBrains' Editor - sourcing news and features content and overseeing the work of the site’s contributors. Marc’s work is informed by his technical background in architecture having worked for some of the UK’s leading practices on projects within the education, healthcare and housing sectors. Marc has a particular interest in how innovators are creating sustainable solutions that have a positive impact on people’s everyday lives. Please email press releases and news to: editor@arabbrains.com

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