Economic and fiscal policy reforms — coupled with social structure remodelling efforts — are at the heart of today’s transformation agendas in the GCC. The government of KSA is the biggest change advocate and driver across the region, having initiated a series of national transformation programs under the Vision 2030 banner. The aim of this plan is to respond to today’s challenges, modernise the nation and diversify the economy.
Enhancing private-public partnerships and privatisation, localisation and nationalisation, consolidation, digital transformation, industrial development, and capability building are some of the key pillars of KSA’s transformation agenda. But the realisation of KSA’s grand vision will also heavily rely on solving one of the key challenges faced by KSA government institutions today — enhancing the retention of top local talent.
To achieve successful and sustainable results, and drive the state-level growth plans and organisational improvements, government institutions in KSA need to address the potential gap in human capital capabilities. This can be achieved by attracting and retaining top talent as well as effectively developing and upskilling the local labour force. Successfully combining both approaches can lead to better productivity and performance, help cultivate leaders and build a pipeline of talent.
We have identified the following key strategies for retaining top talent. Scroll down to learn more.
Leaders across the government recognise the need for retaining top talent but external market conditions are making this retention more difficult. Private sector companies as well as semi-governmental and state owned enterprises are more flexible with their pay policies, and are also offering higher rewards and more attractive benefits such as variable pay and performance-based “bonus” schemes. Advantages like these encourage high performers to leave the public sector to search for more lucrative opportunities elsewhere.
Talented employees are ambitious, career oriented and have a deep focus on continuous learning. Therefore, it’s not surprising that they might consider the private sector as a better option for customised learning and development. Other factors they take into account when choosing where to work include flexibility and opportunities for growth, particularly in organisations where performance and value creation are viewed as more important than tenure.
After the initial acclimation period, public sector employees could find the more bureaucratic government environment slow-paced and start looking for opportunities in workplaces that could potentially offer more freedom to act and make decisions. This type of shift from public to private sector will only increase the difference between the skills available and the skills required in the labour market, and could hamper the government’s Vision 2030 aspirations. Furthermore, this imbalance might lead to increased government spending and dependency on third party vendors to design and deliver transformation initiatives.
As KSA ventures into new sectors, it’s becoming increasingly important to focus on human capital and build long-term strategies for talent retention.
1 World Economic Forum. (2017). The Human Capital Development Index 2017. [online] World Economic Forum, p.159. Available at: https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-global-human-capital-report-2017 [Accessed 25 Nov. 2019].
2 PwC. (2019). New world. New skills. Insights from the GCC Hopes & Fears survey. [online] PwC. Available at: https://www.pwc.com/m1/en/issues/upskilling.html [Accessed 2 Feb. 2020].
3 Over 3 Ministry of Labor and Social Development. (2016). G20 Labour Market Report. 3rd ed. [pdf] Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Ministry of Labor and Social Development. Available at: https://irpcdn.multiscreensite.com/ff00f1f0/files/uploaded/G20%20Labor%20Market%20Report%20 2016%20-%20Final%20-%20Low%20res.pdf [Accessed 25 Nov. 2019]
4 Kohll, A. (2019). How your office space impacts employee well-being. Forbes, [online]. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/alankohll/2019/01/24/how-your-office-spaceimpacts-employee-wellbeing [Accessed 25 Nov. 2019].
Prosperity comes from a resilient and sustainable economy which is driven by a strong government. Human capital is the main pillar and contributor to the tremendous success of the Kingdom. But for the country to become more sustainable, it is vital to prioritise the people agenda, focus on talent retention, and continue to nurture and develop the workforce.
Real impact and value creation comes from collective implementation of the above dimensions across all government institutions and agencies. At the moment, the government has an opportunity to leverage Vision 2030 and the strong national identity to help build a better tomorrow for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Together we will continue building a better country, fulfilling our dream of prosperity and unlocking the talent, potential, and dedication of our young men and women.
Middle East Government and Public Sector Leader & Global Advisory Government and Public Sector Leader, PwC Middle East
Tel: +971 2 694 6800
Partner, Middle East People and Organisation Leader, PwC Middle East
Director, People & Organisation Consulting, PwC Middle East