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Companies in the region that promote equality, diversity and inclusivity (ED&I) in their recruitment will have a significant competitive advantage over their rivals, particularly in the construction industry, a leading recruitment expert has said.
In an exclusive interview with MEED, Chris Bernard, HKA's global people recruitment and ED&I partner, says that organisations with inclusive recruitment policies will be better able to hire the best talent as the region struggles with a growing skills shortage.
“Organisations that do not prioritise ED&I will not be able to attract or retain talent,” says Bernard. “This will allow those that do to benefit from the diverse perspectives, skills and expertise of people from different backgrounds, and achieve greater business success.”
Filling a growing skills gap is particularly challenging for the region’s construction industry, which has a reputation for being male-dominated and slow to change. Younger generations have been deterred from pursuing careers in construction for the same reason.
“Studies have shown that millennials investigate the diversity credentials of an organisation they want to join in far more detail than anyone before them,” says Bernard.
“They are concerned about the work-life balance in the workplace, activities around corporate social responsibility (CSR), and where a prospective employer stands in terms of ED&I. They are very forthcoming about what they expect from their future employers.”
Bernard says that there are signs that things are beginning to change in the region’s construction industry, with companies recruiting and developing talent from an increasingly diverse range of groups, particularly women. But more needs to be done, she says.
Regional firms can position themselves as an employer of choice by implementing strategies and best practices that promote ED&I in the workplace, says Bernard.
Bernard says that HKA has established executive-sponsored regional committees dedicated to building and fostering an equal, diverse and inclusive workplace at the firm. The committees aim to address under-representation and real and perceived diversity gaps.
The latest MEED-HKA Market Talk, “Attracting Talent”, highlights how focusing on equality, diversity and inclusivity in the workplace will lead to business success in the Middle East. It also discusses how we can identify bias in the workplace and make eradicating it a strategic priority. HKA is a global consultancy in risk mitigation and dispute resolution.
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