Four Reasons to Invest in Training and Development in 2017, Contributor, Dec 26 2016

Employees everywhere are eager to build reliable career trajectories and advance their professional development. In order to do so, they depend on the employer for continuously providing opportunities that expand their knowledge, enhance their skills, and help them meet their goals. This sentiment is increasingly popular among professionals in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and it is becoming more vital for businesses and employers to address this matter in order to retain their talent. 

According to the 2016 Career Development in the Middle East survey, a lack of career development prospects can make or break employee engagement and retention. In reality, many employees feel that their companies are failing to equip them with the learning and training opportunities needed to ensure their career growth. This consequently leaves the employee feeling disadvantaged in their jobs. In fact, more than three quarters of professionals say that they would leave their company for better training opportunities. 

If you are still on the fence regarding the importance of talent development,, the Middle East’s #1 Job Site, has four reasons to dedicate more effort for training and development this year: 

1. Because it is not done sufficiently 
Many companies aren’t fully aware of the essential training their employees need and would like to have. In fact, one in two professionals (47%) have not formally set any development plans with their manager in the MENA region. The great majority (95%) of those not having set any development plan would like to have one, according to the Career Development in the Middle East and North Africasurvey. What may sound more alarming is that more than half (54%) of professionals in the region are prepared to move to another country, while 53% are prepared to move to another sector to develop their career and expand their skills. These figures show that many companies are not doing enough to develop their existing talent. The lack of promotional opportunities may indeed compel employees to abandon their jobs in 2017.

2. Because it is not done correctly 
Professional development starts by listening to employees and finding out what their specific needs are and what skills they would like to acquire to improve their performance. Unfortunately, not all training and development opportunities in the past have reflected what employees actually need. According to the Career Development in the Middle East and North Africasurvey, while considered relatively more important, a smaller proportion of MENA employees received training in management development, leadership, time management and foreign languages. If training is provided but is targeting the wrong skill sets or job requirements then it is entirely wasteful. Professional development must be based on what employees are lacking or need to obtain in order to succeed in their positions and contribute positively for their workplace. 

3. Because it is not done cost-effectively 
Training and talent development does not have to be an exorbitant cost to companies. With the proliferation of online learning and assessment tools, businesses in 2017 no longer have to shell out huge amounts of money for training their employees and expanding their skills and knowledge base. Companies and professionals who are looking for better career development opportunities and chances to learn and grow can now do so cost-effectively using learning platforms such as’s online courses and tests, many of which are free of charge. There are also numerous research reports and career support articles that are available on for all professionals in the MENA to make use of. Even more, if employees would like to autonomously manage their training, they can use many self-assessment tools that are available online.  

4. Because it is not done equally
Career development is seen as one of the most important factors for employee retention, loyalty, and engagement. This applies to all career levels and all positions. It is no longer sufficient to empower senior management with the best training opportunities while excluding those in more junior positions. In fact, starting training and development with the most entry-level positions will help your new-joiners perform better and establish a solid career path at your company. According tothe Fresh Graduates in the Middle East and North Africa Survey, the most important job attributes include opportunities for career progression (60%) and good training opportunities (58%). This shows that even fresh graduates highly value professional development that supports their career advancement from early on.  

Training cannot be reserved for certain groups over others. For instance, despite the fact that nearly two thirds (63%) of women surveyed in the Working Women in the Middle East and North Africa surveyagree that they work the same number of hours as male colleagues, less than half (48%) of women in MENA believe that their chance of being promoted depends entirely on job performance, with no regard to gender, and about a third of them cite the lack of sufficient job training and coaching as a major career challenge. It is critical that all employees are given the training they need to excel in their job, otherwise, their performance will be subpar.  


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