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How to land the best talent in real estate, other sectors, and retain it, in the Middle East

corporate businesses across the Middle East are focusing on workplace location, connectivity, flexibility and layout in order to win the battle for talent

The ability for large corporates to attract and retain the best staff is no longer centred on compensation and benefit packages Employees are increasingly looking at the culture of an office environment and how people interact with the office space itself The shift is leaning towards providing a home away from home

According to Savills’ latest ‘What Workers Want’ update, corporate businesses across the Middle East are focusing on workplace location, connectivity, flexibility and layout in order to win the battle for talent. Savills reports that catering to different demographics and how they utilise different parts of their office space is increasingly becoming a key focus point for business leaders when designing their new offices. 

Savills is seeing this trend across most sectors, be it in the quirky world of the technology sector or the formal environment of the legal sector. Head of Savills Building and Project Consultancy (BPC) for the Middle East region, Simon Denham, believes the impact Generation Y and Generation Z are having on the UAE workforce is what is driving this trend across the region. The ability for large corporates to attract and retain the best staff is no longer centred on compensation and benefit packages. 

Denham who has been in the region for 14 years, and has built offices for the likes of Facebook, Snapchat, Uber and Mastercard as well as most of the leading legal and financial institutions, has observed the change in focus from occupiers over the last decade. 

Read: Report shows 76% of companies want to increase their Emirati headcount this year

Denham, went on to say ”As the demand for talent heats up, companies are vying for the best people, be it in technology, legal, financial services, media and marketing. Therefore, to attract the best young talent, companies across different sectors are realising that they need to provide more than just a market competitive salary and a parking space for senior members of staff. 

“If you look at the demographic of those entering the workplace, their wants and expectations are different from the generation before. It is a tug of war that balances company traditions with prioritising conditions to provide new, younger generations with what they require. Companies need to adopt a better mind-set than just doing the minimum to keep their staff happy – it is an absolute necessity to create an environment that people want to work in, otherwise businesses will suffer.

“Employees are increasingly looking at the culture of an office environment and how people interact with the office space itself when making decisions over which company they would like to work for.” 

Read: One of Careem’s greatest challenges today: “Finding tech talents and keeping them in our region”

The regional update follows a Savills-commissioned 2019 YouGov survey of 11,000 workers across European office markets that revealed 40% of Europe’s workers are expected to leave their current job in the next five years. To prevent similar trends happening in the Middle East, Savills are seeing businesses explore a number of options to try and attract/retain key young talent:

  • Collaborative zones – places for people to work with their teams or cross-departmentally
  • Private/quiet offices – to allow people to focus on specific tasks
  • Hot desks – allowing people to sit in different places for variety and for cross-pollination of ideas
  • Café/pantry facilities – offering snacks and beverages
  • High-tech meeting rooms – including potential for virtual reality (VR) facilities

While these are now considered basic requirements for professional offices in some industries, other USPs that can appeal to current and potential employees include:

  • Sleep pods
  • Mothers’ rooms
  • Bike / scooter parking provision 
  • Gym and workout facilities
  • Breakout / downtime rooms

Read: Flexible working: A new and unlikely weapon in the fight against climate change

Denham continued: “The shift is leaning towards providing a home away from home. This is not new ground; it has existed in the tech and marketing sectors for a number of years now. However, the young workforce is having a greater influence. Consequently there is a greater pressure on all sectors to consider how they shape their office space to cater for changing needs and demands. 

The region is making strides to lead from the front when it comes to adapting the workplace to meet employee’s needs.  This is allowing the UAE to compete in future-facing industries with the likes of the European, Asian and US markets.”

About Savills

Global property agents Savills provide an extensive range of residential and commercial services across the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Established in the Middle East over 43 years ago, expertise includes everything from financial and investment advice to valuation, planning, and property management. Originally founded in the UK in 1855, Savills has a long-standing history and over 600 offices across the Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa, and the Middle East.

For further information about Savills: www.savills.com