MENA businesses will suffer if they do not tap into the potential of young talent, according to the world’s largest business software company.
Speaking at the ROI for HR Forum in Dubai, Nelly Boustany, HR Director, SAP MENA, said that simply relying on experienced talent only is unsustainable, can hamper innovation and could adversely impact on both profit and performance.
“Employers that ignore young talent are missing out on huge opportunities to innovate,” said Boustany.
“The region’s youth are, more than most countries in the world, intimately attuned to the power of technology in all its forms. If you identify that potential and willingness to learn early on, harness it and support it over time, you will get a workforce that can have a dramatic impact on the bottom line, as well as a newfound ability to adapt and innovate with regionally-specific insight and benefits.”
The ROI for HR Forum reiterates the recent comments made by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai, who praised the UAE for ranking as the top destination for international talent according to a LinkedIn study, and for the UAE’s commitment to investing in human capital to reverse the “brain drain” of local talent.
A key pillar of SAP’s People strategy is to know how to source and connect with the region’s brightest and best; increasingly, leveraging the power of technology and dialogue via social media.
According to a study sponsored by SAP and conducted by the Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government (formerly Dubai School of Government), the largest of its kind to focus on Arab youth and social media habits, 70 per cent of respondents believed social media could help them find jobs. Furthermore, 75 per cent viewed the technology as an essential channel to the virtual job market and 76 per cent hailed its networking capabilities.
Boustany added that empowering youth is vital to combat unemployment and drive the region’s broader economic diversification agenda, with the ICT industry particularly well placed to lead by example.
“Future workforces must be highly agile, flexible and competent in terms of practical, technological and leadership skills. Future workforces will also be age diverse, with more generations working together both in and across companies. This heterogeneous workforce will require a culture of trust and a shared value, which means it will be increasingly important to foster collaboration and knowledge sharing.”
SAP is investing heavily in identifying and supporting local talent via initiatives like its Training and Development Institute (TDI).
The TDI includes the Young Professional Training Programme which features hands-on project experience and spans everything from negotiation and communication to conflict management and “design thinking”. In addition, the program offers SAP certifications at associate level in core business and industry solutions.
In order to further maximise its ability to engage with local talent, SAP has also launched the 2nd Chance Education Program, which qualifies unemployed job-seekers as SAP certified consultants and users in collaboration with selected partners from government institutions and the private sector.
In addition, the TDI is complemented by SAP’s world-renowned University Alliances Program. Thousands students across more than 50 universities are now part of the UAP and are being taught by 230 specially trained instructors. UAP member schools are provided with access to the SAP Business Suite family of solutions, including SAP Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). UAP students gain insight into how technology can empower businesses to optimize key processes, and gain hands-on experience of key technologies that enable them to add immediate value to the local job market.
Other engagement tools include the recently launched student edition of the SAP Learning Hub, which provides a comprehensive, cloud-based library of content, spanning almost 150 SAP solutions, that universities can offer students for self-study.