Complex Made Simple

Can GCC companies attract and retain the right ‘talent’?

At the heart of change within the GCC region is “talent” – a factor that has come to determine the competitiveness of cities, countries and the Middle East.

“Entrepreneurship talent” and “future-proof employees” are key to navigating a volatile future According to the GTCI report, all countries in the Middle East are below the regression line The report also delves into the roles that cities, rather than countries, are playing in becoming “talent hubs”

The GCC region is experiencing a period of change. This transition is evident in the economic diversification drives taken up by countries in the region as they look to move away from oil dependency and move toward innovation and entrepreneurship to boost long-term return on investments. At the crux of change is “talent” – a factor that has come to determine the competitiveness of cities, countries and the region.

Bruno Lanvin, Executive Director of Global Indices at INSEAD, presented the key findings of the 2019 Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) report released by INSEAD Business School at an exclusive talk held at The Ritz-Carlton in Bahrain attended by senior delegates from the GFH Financial Group and Bahrain’s Economic Development Board (EDB), among others. He addressed the importance of countries creating the right conditions for attracting, retaining and growing talent – with a specific focus on how “entrepreneurship talent” and “futureproof employees” are key to navigating a volatile future.

Speaking about the ranking of countries based on the Global Talent Competitive Index Bruno Lanvin said, “For the first time ever, we have a six-year type series, so we can look at moving averages. This way we move away from year-to-year changes and have a clearer picture of whether the performance of a country is going up or down … We’re not looking for an annual snapshot; we’re looking for identification of the dynamics of why we’re moving up or moving down. This will give us a recipe that indicates what it takes to move up the chain of talent.”

 

 

From ambition to reality

The GTCI report released by INSEAD shows a growing trend in the global talent sphere that calls for increased flexibility and the ability to adapt to the changing schisms of the business ecosystem. When talent is encouraged and nurtured, it is likely to have a direct impact on the competitiveness of economies.

According to the report, all countries in the Middle East are below the GTCI regression line – which means that based on their GDP per capita, GCC and Middle East countries have not been doing as well as others with similar GDP per capita in areas such as ICT usage, innovation and attracting talent.

“The question then arises – how do we get to the regression line? The way the world works is that you have to set yourself an ambition to say that ‘this is where I want to be in five or ten years, and based on that there is where I need my performance to be’. So getting to that regression line is almost a self-fulfilling prophecy. If people are not optimistic about the future, they’re going to put a lot of effort into, at best, optimizing the situation that is present today, but nothing more,” Bruno Lanvin said.

 

 

“Talent hubs”

With organizations around the globe increasingly focusing on digital transformation amid the fourth industrial revolution, there is a rising need for businesses to incorporate entrepreneurial talent who are able and willing to learn, unlearn and relearn.

This year’s GTCI report has placed special importance on entrepreneurial talent – how it is being encouraged, nurtured and developed throughout the world and how this affects the relative competitiveness of different economies. The report also delves into the roles that cities, rather than countries, are playing in becoming “talent hubs”.

“If you see the overall dynamics, you would see that the smaller economies are generally bigger performers, which is good news for Bahrain, and good news for the GCC in general, because this has to do with agility, nimbleness, innovation, the ability to steer your human capital towards activities that have been identified as the most promising – and small countries are better at this,” Bruno Lanvin summarized.