According to a recent ‘Career Development in the Middle East and North Africa’ poll conducted by Bayt.com, the region’s number one job site, a lack of career development prospects can radically make or break employee engagement.

On one hand, career development is of utmost importance to professionals in the MENA – even if it means rebooting their whole lives or taking their careers in a totally different direction. In Qatar, 81% of respondents say that career development is very important. In parallel, 62% are prepared to move to another country to develop their career while another 59% are willing to change sectors completely.

On the other hand, the results also show that in the eyes of MENA employees, companies’ HR departments are not doing enough to provide them with the career development opportunities – including promotions, adequate appraisal performance systems, role enhancements, mentoring programs and advanced training seminars – that they need to ensure professional growth.

All in all, the analysis reveals that these gaps and inefficiencies are the reasons why certain employers are struggling to retain top talent.

The study found that, while a total of 59% of Qatar job holders want to attain higher level positions, over one third (28%) have never had a promotion in their current company. An impressive 72%, however, have. Another major takeaway from the survey is that 29% strongly think that there is equal opportunity for advancement at their company; likewise, 30% strongly claim that job promotions are awarded fairly and without bias.

In addition, 48% of working professionals in Qatar are satisfied with their current career development; another 47% admit that they are satisfied with the quality of orientation and training that they have received thus far. Also, 69% of those surveyed (in Qatar) believe that their organisation boasts the capabilities to cross-train their employees and teach them new skills. Perhaps more noteworthy is that 58% affirm that their organisation’s training and development opportunities are explicitly linked to the company’s overall strategic direction.

Interestingly, 32% of Qatar respondents state that their company is more attractive than other companies in terms of career development. An overwhelming portion (78%) also say that would leave their company for better training opportunities.

Based on the survey results, although close to half (43%) of Qatar respondents have not formally set any development plans with their manager, the great majority (93%) would like to have a formal career development plan in place. On a related note, 47% of Qatar working professionals are satisfied with their supervisor’s efforts to identify their strengths and weaknesses; 30%, however, are very dissatisfied. Similarly, 46% and 45% of employees in the Qatar are satisfied with the mentoring that they have received from senior peers and their current performance appraisal process, respectively.

In Qatar, 49% of job holders are satisfied with their professional learning and growth opportunities. Furthermore, almost nine out of ten respondents (88%) are always trying to identify learning opportunities inside and outside of their company, and more than half (70%) of those surveyed in Qatar feel encouraged to take initiative in determining their own career development.

In the MENA, 43% of current employees claim that they are overqualified for their role, while another 55% state that their role is a good match to their abilities. Only 3% believe that they are under qualified for their role. In Qatar, employees have mixed feelings and perspectives when it comes to their responsibilities in proportion to their abilities. A total of 35% of Qatar job holders claim that they are overqualified for their role, while another 62% state that their role is a good match to their abilities. Only3% believe that they are under qualified for their role.

In terms of knowing what their company needs and requires from its employees, 38% of Qatar working professionals admit to having a good idea.

Suhail Masri, VP of Sales, Bayt.com said:

Today, employees in Qatar are understandably eager to craft solid career trajectories and advance their professional development. Unfortunately, however, as evidenced by the survey results, many of them feel that their company is failing when it comes to equipping them with the well-rounded tools, blended learning approach, and tailored training needed to ensure their career growth and progression. And this leaves employees feeling stifled in their jobs – which in turn affects their loyalty, morale, and performance.’

Masri also added:

At Bayt.com, as part of our steadfast commitment to building a strong, diversified workforce here in the region and meeting the talent demands of the future, we have, over the years, worked hand-in-hand with HR departments to help them devise an effective talent development strategy. Ultimately, our aim is to do our part to help HR departments spearhead employee retention efforts. How? By making sure that they are laying out multiphased growth and career development paths for employees – so workers can expand their expertise in key areas, fine-tune their skills, and chalk out a clear, well-structured career track for themselves. Companies and professionals across the various industry and career spectrums work with Bayt.com’s career development products like Tests and Courses. They also partake in specialist discussions online on Bayt.com Specialties, greatly expanding their knowledge and the knowledge of others by sharing what they know.’

Elissavet Vraka, YouGov said:

Only about 3 in 10 current employees strongly believe that there is equal opportunity for advancement at the company. Companies in the Middle East can stand to benefit from creating transparent systems where employees feel confident about their career development.’

Data for the Bayt.com ‘Career Development in the Middle East and North Africa’ poll was collected online in October 2015, with 3,359 respondents covering 13 countries in the MENA region.

For more information, visit bayt.com