Middle East businesses must prepare for Generation Z

09 September 2015 Consultancy.uk

Generation Z will, according to PA Consulting, be hard to engage by traditional Middle East employers – as the generation has grown up with the technology and what it makes possible. For Middle East employers to engage incoming talent from Generation Z, they need to consider three potential strategies, allowing them to brand themselves, cut out stifling hierarchies and create flexible incentives.

Generation Z
Generation Z is the generation that consists of digital natives and fast decision makers that are highly connected. This group, according to PA Consulting Group, is set to clash with the more traditional values and practices found in many Middle Eastern employers. The consulting firm expects the region to end with a shortage in new talent when Generation Z starts entering the workforce in mass.

“The key for employers from the outset is to recognise that they are dealing with a completely new generation of people who are different in many ways from those coming before them,” explains Jason Harborow, Head of PA Consulting Group Middle East and North Africa. “Generation Z are typically idea-driven, impatient but realistic, opinionated, individualistic, hyper-connected and digitally-savvy.”

Generation Z - PA Consulting

Features of the new generation come from the rapid proliferation of technology in the region, especially among the younger generation and those in the middle and upper classes. “We know that smart phone penetration in the Middle East is continuing to rise and is forecasted to reach around 75% across the region by 2018,” says Harborow. “So now is the time for employers to truly understand what impact these potential new members of staff will have on their business.”

Working with Generation Z
The firm states that failure to engage this entrepreneurial group of people may threaten the survival of those organisations reluctant to change. To integrate the new generation into the work force, PA Consulting has considered three points that may help regional employers engage Generation Z.

The three pronged strategy, according to Harborow, calls for allowing Generation Z employees to:

  • Develop their own brands aligned to the organisation’s vision and beliefs.
  • Benefit from ‘rank ranging’ to replace traditional hierarchy which stifles creativity.
  • Get new incentives like work-from-home options and unlimited annual leave instead of out-dated rewards packages.

Middle East workplaces

“Change is particularly daunting for organisations in the Middle East where we work with a multi-cultural pool of talent.  But the next phase of the digital revolution we’re currently witnessing will demand new ways of thinking, communicating and doing business,” remarks Harborow. “In order to attract Generation Z, employers must create an open-minded, connected and forward thinking working culture which is innovative and entrepreneurial. Creating loyalty and retention will come from giving them the opportunity to create meaningful work, to collaborate with others and offering more part-time working options.”

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