Bahrain aims to bridge jobs market gap
Manama, August 19, 2012
Officials hope a regional labour market study will help identify how to empower Bahrainis working in the private sector, and bridge the gap between their qualifications and job requirements.
The new research, conducted by global human resources company Aon Hewitt, is said to be the largest of its kind in the region. It took the views of more than 20,000 employees from Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Egypt with the aim of understanding what drives and motivates talent in the region.
Aon Hewitt's applied research head for the Mena region, Radhika Punshi, said the study threw up many counterintuitive findings that challenged regular preconceptions of employers about local talent.
'Among the most unexpected findings were that Bahraini nationals reported lower levels of engagement in the public sector than they did in the private sector and that less than half had confidence in the most senior leadership in their respective organisations,' she said.
Bahrainis reported a growing disconnect between job requirements and their education, compared to foreign workers.
'In addition, Bahraini nationals continue to report lower levels of work engagement than expatriates, which could impact their longer term motivation, performance and productivity at the workplace,' said Punshi.
'As Bahrain's and the region's economy continues to recover, there will be a renewed and exponential growth focus on attracting, motivating and retaining top talent within all industrial sectors, with a greater emphasis on quality.”
'However, more than ever before, there is a greater urgency for alignment and collaboration between the education system and the demand from employers, as an increasing number of young men and women seek opportunities for positive and productive employment.'
Punshi said the early findings of the report pointed to a mismatch between education and employment, significantly impacting the motivation, expectations and preparedness of current and future employees towards their jobs.
'On a more positive note, the fact that there is awareness among Bahraini nationals of this mismatch points towards a willingness to address this problem,' she said.
Tamkeen chief executive Mahmood Al Kooheji said the study would allow them to gain a holistic perspective on how they can further the empowerment and development of Bahrainis within the private sector.
'We expect this study to identify actions which augment our current human capital development programmes aimed at increasing the capabilities and competitiveness of Bahrainis in line with labour market demands,' he said before the initial findings were published.
'This partnership is aligned perfectly with Tamkeen's strategic objectives and Economic Vision 2030, which aims to successfully shift to a globally competitive economy driven by a dynamic and vibrant private sector.”
'We are truly excited about the potential insights from this study and urge the private sector to support and participate in this landmark initiative.'
Bahrain Institute of Public Administration (Bipa) director-general Dr Ra'ed Mohammed Bin Shams said the study and its extension of partnership with Aon Hewitt would reaffirm Bipa's focus on building the skills of government employees.
'Our endeavour is to design and strengthen our programmes and initiatives based on a solid research foundation, and not merely on opinions or experience alone,' he said.
'We are committed to developing the talent pipeline within Bahrain's public sector in support of Vision 2030, to ensure that we are truly sustainable, productive and competitive for current and future generations.' – TradeArabia News Service
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