Building the Skills Gap in the Gulf – Middle East: A Bold New Approach to Workforce Investment

Building the Skills Gap in the Gulf – Middle East: A Bold New Approach to Workforce Investment

Building the Skills Gap in the Gulf – Middle East: A Bold New Approach to Workforce Investment

When you listen to HR professionals in this business age, conversations are often concerning whether their talent can keep up with the demands for new or different skills. Many companies are aware and understand that they need to accept constant and radical changes, however, ensuring that the right talent is recruited or trained by investing in upskilling or reskilling is not always planned ahead in order to be strategic.

Could there be a better way to address the skills gap? Many organizations don’t set aside funds specifically for reskilling and or upskilling. A circle of hiring, firing and then rehiring the right skills can be ineffective, this can be prevented by proper planning in a systematic approach. 

Severance and the Costs of Separation

How much does it cost to let go and hire employees in the name of workforce transformation?

As the world’s largest provider of outplacement services, Lee Hecht Harrison (LHH), has estimated global severance costs to be more than US$600 billion. This is a minimum estimate given that it does not consider the costs of hiring new individuals to meet requirements.. A trend of hiring and letting go of employees leads to increased costs for the organization. The term ‘boomerang employees’ refers to people, who, after leaving an organization due to redundancy are later rehired for a different job by the same company. It is estimated that 15 to 25 percent of employees who are forced to leave companies are rehired at some point. The organization has spent large amounts on severance packages and outplacement support on talent who later return to the organization. Organizations who consider Employee engagement in the Gulf, Dubai and other Middle East countries are advised to focus on reskilling reducing the number of employees who need to leave the organization. Investing in talent and their development will also improve employee engagement as individuals naturally are loyal in these circumstances.

Understanding Employee Engagement in the Gulf, Dubai and the rest of Middle East

Building the Skills Gap in the Gulf A New Bold New Approach to Workforce Investment

The following ideas could be helpful for reskilling investment planning and are worth considering.

A Training Fund

Organizations can set aside separate funds to cater for training and upskilling. Successful employee engagement in the Gulf and Dubai happens when the Middle East employer has an allowance in place to support individuals development through training. The employer’s contributions act as investments and assist with talent retention.

A Loyalty related Fund

In this method, the organization awards funds for individuals as a transferrable training account they can use to finance future reskilling programs. This could be calculated as a percentage of salary and differentiated by the duration of service.

The result could lead to a cost-saving on Outplacement and Severance costs as employees are retained and used in different areas due to re-skilling and training.

The shortage of skills globally has led to the loss of billions in the layoff and rehiring process. There could be other ways to consider that would allow the organization to retain committed and loyal employees whose ‘old’ skills are no longer required – through retraining and upskilling you can keep employees engaged and committed. LHH Gulf supports organizations in the Middle East and the gulf with Talent Management services to help them reach their business goals. Contact us at for more information.