3 IT Recruitment Challenges in the UAE & How to Beat Them
Recruitment is costly and time-consuming in all sectors. The IT sector faces specific challenges, too. Here, we outline the three main problems IT managers face in terms of recruitment and retention of talent. Step-by-step, we explain how problems can be avoided and difficult situations can be resolved.
- A slow recruitment process
The recruitment process begins with the creation of a job description. The vacancy must be advertised across various platforms. CVs and applications must be reviewed, interviews conducted, and references checked. A suitable candidate must be agreed upon, and then an offer made. In the final stages, contracts need to be signed, and start dates agreed upon.
With so many tasks to check off, it’s easy to see why the recruitment process can drag on. The average time to hire in IT is 33 days according to Workable, but as little as 25 days in other professions. Why? Largely because in-house HR resources are stretched and processes are inefficient. In-house HR may not have a tech specialist adept at finding the right talent.
To complicate matters, there is currently a shortage of candidates in the UAE, especially for JAVA, full-stack and some software engineering positions so it can take time to find enough people to choose from.
In the UAE, many IT candidates are from Asian countries like India and Bangladesh. Recruiting internationally can take longer because of paperwork. It is also common for first-, second- or even third-choice candidates to turn down an offer. They may have used it as leverage to secure a better deal in their current position, sometimes worth as much as double salary in their home country, where they can also enjoy incredibly advanced tech.
All these issues have serious implications for business. Recruitment uses many critical working hours for IT managers and is very costly. Staff involved in recruitment find it difficult to plan their projects around the process, thus affecting deadlines and workflow, too.
The solution is, of course, to streamline the recruitment process. However, this is easier said than done. Working out how to save time costs time, as well. What is the answer? The most cost-effective and easy-to-use solution is to outsource your recruitment to specialist agencies. Efficient processes, better sourcing capabilities for attracting serious candidates internationally, and dedicated time directed toward your recruitment issue mean they can deploy talent faster.
- Maintaining a good employee retention rate
The retention rate in the IT industry is notoriously low. Most research gives employee turnover rates in IT at around 13%. This is significantly higher than most other professions, many of which hover at around 10%. There’s no doubt that tech is a pressurised sector to work in, with long hours and a packed schedule common. But, to give context, healthcare is also considered to be a pressurised profession to work, but turnover rates are just under 10%.
In the ‘Employee Retention in the MENA Workplace’ poll conducted by bayt.com, 20% of professionals leave employment because of poor pay and benefits. IT recruitment services in Dubai consider it to be a major issue in the sector.
Companies may be confused about the benefits employees actually want and need, especially the type of contract and working hours they are looking for. Post COVID-19 lockdowns, many candidates still prefer to work remotely which few UAE tech employers are willing to offer.
Aside from a lack of competitive pay and benefits, career progression is often named as the reason behind a move. Employees want to see a clear career path and excellent training and development opportunities. When their route is blocked, they may exit sideways to another organisation.
This starts with thorough and regular research on your talent pool. Are you offering them the pay and benefits they can expect elsewhere? Are you being flexible enough? 3 IT Recruitment Challenges in the UAE & How to Beat Them
Whatever you offer, however, you need to be very transparent. Make sure personnel know exactly what they are getting when they join you so there is no chance of disappointment and a disgruntled employee later on. In fact, 96% of respondents surveyed by Glassdoor say that it’s important to work for a company with transparency.
Make sure career paths are set out clearly. Can your employees see that there is a future in your company, and is there something to aim for? Do you consistently provide training and development that will help your IT staff upskill?
Finally, you need to be actively measuring and monitoring your talent retention rates so that you can identify patterns and address problems quickly and efficiently.
- Attracting and finding talent
A competitive market in the UAE makes it very difficult to find a pool of good candidates containing the very best talent. Diversity will likely be important to your business; you may be looking to attract European, American and Asian talent.
Social media and recruitment technology have changed the landscape and it can be hard to keep up. You need to ensure you are getting your vacancy in front of exactly the right eyes by using the correct platforms for your target group. Casting the net wide is no more effective than conducting too narrow a search.
Even when you know where the right people are, you need to engage them. Choosing the right elements for your recruitment campaign and listings is vital. For example, did you know that 51% of active IT job seekers are more attracted to adverts with visual elements, according to a survey from Software Advice? Or research by Stack Overflow shows that including a salary range in your listing leads to 75% more clicks?
Firstly, the right talent pools need to be identified. Are these in the UAE or do you need to attract talent from the wider MENA region or even beyond?
You then need to know how you are going to get your vacancy in front of these people. You need to devise a listing that is true to your brand and attracts the right people.
If you are an IT leader, specialising in leveraging future-ready technology, then HR may not be your area of expertise. In this case, the best way to move forward is to engage an IT recruitment specialist who knows exactly how to find and attract the right talent into your company.
In conclusion, to beat recruitment challenges, you need to prioritise transparency and clear communication. You need to ensure that you are offering (and continue to offer) the best possible packages to potential candidates. Finally, you need to devote time and resources to finding the right talent and streamlining your recruitment process.
Why don’t you, therefore, outsource to a specialist IT recruitment service? With a well-established network and infrastructure for sourcing talent and expertise and experience in matching the right candidates with the right positions, they can offer a solution to expensive, frustrating and time-costly IT recruitment challenges.
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3 IT Recruitment Challenges in the UAE & How to Beat Them