Tackling diversity: The top priority in the MENA region

Diversity, new interviewing tools, data and artificial intelligence were identified as key factors for hiring talent based on numerous expert interviews and a survey of 9,000 talent leaders and hiring managers across the globe.

In the MENA region, diversity was found to be the biggest game-changer and most embraced trend with over half of companies are already tackling it head-on.

>See also: Closing the diversity gap: challenge accepted

According to the report, 80% of talent acquisition leaders and hiring managers said that diversity is the top trend affecting how they hire, with companies prioritising diversity – gender, race, ethnicity, age and education.

Business value

‘Diversity used to be a box that companies checked. But today, diversity is directly tied to company culture and financial performance,’ according to the report.

The data showed that 78% of companies prioritise diversity to improve culture and 62% do so to boost financial performance, while 49% said it helped in representing customers. Key forces are at play: changing demographics are diversifying our communities, shrinking talent pools for companies that don’t adapt.

‘Growing evidence that diverse teams are more productive, more innovative and more engaged also make it hard to ignore to improve culture and boost financial performance, as they are increasingly realising that diverse teams are more productive, more innovative and more engaged.’

>See also: Diversity in public sector IT must improve

According to the report, gender is easy to track, ‘so it’s often the lowest-hanging fruit for companies. The undisputed proof of women’s value in the workplace and grim representation of females at big-name companies also keep gender in the spotlight.’

Hiring talent

“Hiring talent has become highly transactional. The tedious candidate searches, the endless scheduling, and the repetitive screening are inefficient and mind-numbing. It’s time for a new era of recruiting that focuses on the more gratifying parts of the job — the human part, the strategic part. This year’s four top trends are doing just that. Collectively these four trends: new interviewing tools, artificial intelligence, diversity, and data are elevating recruiting to a more strategic profession. By killing the transaction, they’re giving MENA companies more time to build candidate relationships and think critically about how to win talent,” said Ali Matar, Head of LinkedIn Middle East and North Africa, LinkedIn.

>See also: Diversity articles and UK industry trends in business technology

AI

According to the report, hiring managers in MENA are seeing the difference AI can make, in helping hirers work faster by automating administrative tasks and smarter by generating insights they wouldn’t think of alone. The report found that 36% of professionals feel that AI is a top trend affecting how they go about hiring employees.

“AI is the future, but so is the human touch. AI is a huge step forward for talent acquisition, but it will never fully automate it. Companies still need people — people to persuade and negotiate, to understand candidate needs, and to build communities and cultures. These four trends are just the beginning of what we predict is a movement to make the transactional recruiter obsolete. To stay alive professionally, recruiters will have to embrace them,” said Matar.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is the editor for Information Age. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and cyber security.

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