56% re­spon­dents in Kuwait be­lieve there is a skills gap

Kuwait Times - - LOCAL -

A re­cent study ti­tled ‘The Mid­dle East Skills Re­port,’ con­ducted by Bayt.com - the Mid­dle East’s num­ber one job site - and YouGov - a re­search and con­sult­ing agency, have found that 56 per­cent of re­spon­dents in Kuwait be­lieve that there is a skills gap in the mar­ket.

At the re­gional level, 65 per­cent of em­ploy­ers be­lieve there is a skills gap in the mar­ket, while 7 per­cent of em­ploy­ers said there isn’t a gap, and 28 per­cent said they did not know. Em­ploy­ers and job seek­ers seem to be in agree­ment on the pres­ence of a skills gap in the Mid­dle East and North Africa (MENA) re­gion. The ma­jor­ity of job seek­ers (59 per­cent) also think that there is a skills gap, while 11 per­cent think there is not.

Job seeker chal­lenges

From a job seeker’s per­spec­tive, ac­cord­ing to re­spon­dents, the num­ber one rea­son for not find­ing jobs fit­ting their skills set is a “lack of aware­ness” (33 per­cent) of what skills are in high de­mand. This sen­ti­ment varies with age: 38 per­cent among those aged 40+, com­pared to 34 per­cent amongst ages 30-39, and 30 per­cent amongst those be­low 30 years old.

Just above a quar­ter of job seek­ers (26 per­cent) also claimed that the ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem doesn’t train stu­dents on skills which are rel­e­vant in to­day’s mar­ket­place. This sen­ti­ment is more preva­lent in North Africa (31 per­cent) and amongst re­cent grad­u­ates (32 per­cent).

To­day’s most de­manded skills

Ac­cord­ing to em­ploy­ers, the top three most im­por­tant skills for mid-ca­reer or ju­nior po­si­tions are “team­work” (83 per­cent of em­ploy­ers said it is very im­por­tant), “time management” (80 per­cent said it is very im­por­tant) and “writ­ten com­mu­ni­ca­tion” (76 per­cent said it is very im­por­tant).

Job seek­ers also agree; 84 per­cent said that “team­work” is a very im­por­tant skill, 83 per­cent said “time management” is very im­por­tant, and 79 per­cent said “writ­ten com­mu­ni­ca­tion” is very im­por­tant.

When it comes to se­nior po­si­tions, the sur­vey showed that the top three most im­por­tant skills ac­cord­ing to em­ploy­ers are “time management” (89 per­cent of em­ploy­ers said it is very im­por­tant), “team­work” (88 per­cent said it is very im­por­tant), and “peo­ple management” (87 per­cent said it is very im­por­tant).

Job seek­ers are in agree­ment for se­nior po­si­tions as well. 89 per­cent said “time management” is a very im­por­tant skill, 89 per­cent said “team­work” is very im­por­tant, and 87 per­cent said “peo­ple management” is very im­por­tant.

To­day’s most scarce skills

Less than one in three (32 per­cent) em­ploy­ers claimed that it is “very dif­fi­cult” to find good can­di­dates for ju­nior or mid-ca­reer po­si­tions. On the job seeker’s side, only a quar­ter (25 per­cent) of them have claimed that it was “very dif­fi­cult” to find jobs match­ing their skills level.

Ac­cord­ing to those sur­veyed, there is a much big­ger gap be­tween what em­ploy­ers and job seek­ers think when it comes to se­nior roles. Only about a quar­ter (24 per­cent) of se­nior em­ploy­ees have re­ported that it is “very dif­fi­cult” to find a job match­ing their skills. On the other side, the ma­jor­ity of busi­nesses (58 per­cent) face chal­lenges in sourc­ing em­ploy­ees with rel­e­vant skills for se­nior po­si­tions.

When look­ing to hire for mid-ca­reer / ju­nior po­si­tions, 47 per­cent of em­ploy­ers sur­veyed said that they face the most chal­lenges when searching for can­di­dates skilled at “cre­ative think­ing.” 44 per­cent of em­ploy­ers said “global mind­set” is very dif­fi­cult to find and 43 per­cent said “visual think­ing” is very dif­fi­cult to find.

Job seek­ers seem to tell a sim­i­lar story by rat­ing them­selves low­est on two of these skills. Only 50 per­cent of job seek­ers claimed to be “very good” at global mind­set and 53 per­cent claimed to be “very good” at visual think­ing.

How­ever, there is a dis­crep­ancy in their eval­u­a­tion of their cre­ative think­ing skills against what em­ploy­ers said: 59 per­cent of job seek­ers eval­u­ate them­selves as “very good” while 47 per­cent of em­ploy­ers say it is “very dif­fi­cult” to find this skill.

For se­nior roles, 53 per­cent of em­ploy­ers claimed that it is “very dif­fi­cult” to find can­di­dates who pos­sess cre­ative think­ing. 51 per­cent of em­ploy­ers said the same about crit­i­cal think­ing, while 49 per­cent said that about global mind­set.

Sim­i­larly to ju­nior roles, job seek­ers rate them­selves highly on the most crit­i­cal skills. 93 per­cent of them said they are “very good” at team work, 87 per­cent said they are “very good” at time management, 87 per­cent said they are “very good” at writ­ten com­mu­ni­ca­tion, and 86 per­cent said they are “very good” at peo­ple management.

How­ever, on time management and team work, the gap be­tween job seek­ers’ eval­u­a­tion and busi­nesses’ dif­fi­culty in find­ing the right skills is to the ex­treme. For time management, 87 per­cent of job seek­ers rate them­selves as “very good”, while 47 per­cent of em­ploy­ers said it is “very dif­fi­cult” to find good can­di­dates with this skill. Sim­i­larly, for team work, 93 per­cent of job seek­ers rate them­selves as “very good”, while 45 per­cent of em­ploy­ers said it is “very dif­fi­cult” to find good can­di­dates with this skill.

On job seek­ers’ self-eval­u­a­tions, the sur­vey re­vealed that they rated them­selves high­est on the same skills they said are the most im­por­tant. This is con­sis­tent but may also sug­gest that can­di­dates felt com­pelled to say that they per­form well on the skills they had iden­ti­fied as be­ing crit­i­cal.

Suhail Masri, Vice Pres­i­dent of Em­ployer So­lu­tions, Bayt.com, said: “It is ev­i­dent that the re­gion ex­pe­ri­ences sev­eral changes and trends that are im­pact­ing the la­bor mar­ket and the type of skills that are in high de­mand. We have ded­i­cated our plat­form, as the Mid­dle East’s #1 Job Site, to fa­cil­i­tate con­nec­tions and ex­chang­ing in­for­ma­tion be­tween job seek­ers and job providers in hopes of match­ing more tal­ent and se­cur­ing more job op­por­tu­ni­ties. In face of the skills gap and the re­ported changes in de­mand, we en­cour­age all pro­fes­sion­als to uti­lize Bayt.com, our prod­ucts, ser­vices, and in­for­ma­tion - such as this re­search that can help them fur­ther un­der­stand the re­gional skills gap and work to­wards achiev­ing bet­ter ca­reer tra­jec­to­ries and suc­cess­ful tal­ent ac­qui­si­tion strate­gies.”

Pre­par­ing for fu­ture jobs

The ma­jor­ity (78 per­cent) of job seek­ers sur­veyed claimed that they are com­mit­ted to ac­quir­ing and devel­op­ing new skills. How­ever, se­nior job seek­ers are more likely than ju­nior ones to read books on new skills (63 per­cent vs 57 per­cent), study in­dus­try best prac­tices (51 per­cent vs 41 per­cent), at­tend com­pany train­ing (42 per­cent vs 27 per­cent), at­tend con­fer­ences (35 per­cent vs 23 per­cent) and at­tend ex­tra class­room cour­ses (31 per­cent vs 18 per­cent).

On the em­ploy­ers’ side, eight in ten com­pa­nies sup­port their em­ploy­ees through a va­ri­ety of ini­tia­tives. Mainly, com­pa­nies or­ga­nize train­ing ses­sions (49 per­cent) and in­form em­ploy­ees on in­dus­try best prac­tices and im­ple­ment them in­ter­nally (38 per­cent). There is also some in­ter­est in of­fer­ing ex­tra class­room cour­ses be­yond the com­pany train­ings (24 per­cent), or­ga­niz­ing in­dus­try tests for em­ploy­ees (23 per­cent) and pay­ing for em­ploy­ees’ par­tic­i­pa­tion in con­fer­ences (23 per­cent).

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