Get All Access for $5/mo

Get The Best To Come To You: Overcoming The Fight For Top Talent With Employer Branding The bigger the pool of job seekers means that businesses need to dig deeper and be more innovative with their sourcing methods in order to secure their needs. Competition for talent is a multifaceted issue.

By Suhail Al-Masri

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


Perhaps one of the biggest challenges that businesses nowadays face is competing for top talent. Every company wants to hire bright, highly-skilled, and dedicated professionals. But the road to winning the hearts of top performers is rockier than ever. While it is true that unemployment, especially among young job seekers, continues to be a big issue in the Middle East market, this does not make it easier for companies to attract and hire the right type of candidates. In fact, the bigger the pool of job seekers means that businesses need to dig deeper and be more innovative with their sourcing methods in order to secure their needs. Competition for talent is a multifaceted issue. At, we've examined several elements that are contributing to a tougher competition for talent and a more challenging hiring process overall. Here is the drill-down:


The idea that your job is a place where you feel challenged but also comfortable, motivated but also rewarded, engaged but also entertained is growing more than ever. At the macro level, the most attractive industries are increasingly defined by factors that include, but extend beyond salary, such as work-life balance, opportunities for career growth, and job security. Today, job seekers are looking for employment in industries that tick every box on their job hunt checklist.

The Top Industries in the Middle East and North Africa Survey, April 2018, showed that industries are becoming increasingly competitive amongst each other in terms of securing top talent in the MENA. The difference in percentage points between the most and least appealing industries is generally small across the board, indicating that the regional workforce is quite diverse and multifaceted. But what is more important, is that the differences cascade down to the company level, which calls for each individual employer to become more attentive to their branding, workplace, and methods of securing top talent.

In an effort to find out what really makes a company an ideal workplace,, released a report in January 2018 entitled The Ideal Workplace in the Middle East and North Africa, in partnership with global online market research company, YouGov. According to this report, 83% of respondents believe that advanced technology in the workplace is of great importance, yet only 39% of workplaces reportedly use advanced technology.

Other elements that were considered important in the workplace include transparent communication (82% of employees say it is important) work-life balance (81%), fair evaluation (81%), innovation and creativity (81%) and challenging work (79%).

When asked about business values that make a company more attractive in the MENA region, 53% cited "good ethics and practices," 37% said "friendly company culture," 24% said "corporate social responsibility," and 12% said "green consciousness/efforts," indicating that the MENA professionals look at a variety of elements relating to companies' missions and impact on societies.

Not only do values and cultural elements matter to the region's professionals, physical elements have a significant role as well. In regards to office layout for example, the opinions vary. 27% of MENA professionals prefer "closed rooms," 22% prefer "open plan," 12% prefer "workstations," 12% prefer "cubicles," while 22% had no preference in this matter. When it comes to the interior design of an office, only 37% of respondents said that the interior design of their offices "reflects the company's brand and value."

What we can tell from these findings is that professionals nowadays expect much more from their employers than a pay check and a health insurance. There are various elements that professionals seek to know more about, which challenges companies looking to hire top talent to make that information available and position themselves as the ideal place to work at.


As we discussed earlier, there are many elements that job seekers are interested in learning about before making the decision to join one company over the other. For top talent in particular, it is much likely that they will want more details, more engagement, and more transparency from their potential workplace before they are able to give their commitment and their highly desired skills to one employer.

However, this type of information is often not available or not accessible in the right place and at the right time. For instance, only four in 10 job seekers find it easy to access information on company culture and environment when applying for a job.

Not knowing enough about what the company offers, what its culture is like, what type of workplace it boasts, and what a day at work will look like can be frustrating for job seekers and sometimes even a deterrent from applying for the company's vacancies. This kind of information extends beyond the job description, though it can hugely excite more professionals to join a particular company.

While it is true that the job interview is often the chance to showcase the work environment, culture, and daily life, if this information is made available from the beginning of the hiring process, it can certainly enhance the quantity, quality, and relevancy of applicants. The more information that's made available, the more relevant job applicants and potential employees become.


In addition to making more information available, companies are expected to engage more with job seekers. According to a poll titled Communications at Work in the Middle East, March 2017, Six in 10 respondents (59.6%) believe that companies should always communicate with job seekers, even if they are rejected from a particular job.

Now, although communicating with every single applicant might sound like a cumbersome and extremely timeconsuming task, there are many tools that can aid with that. CV Search by, for instance, enables companies to sort CVs into folders and send out specific templates based on the applicant's stage in the hiring funnel.

Beyond applicant status updates, communicating and engaging with job seekers, or potential talent, can be a very rewarding process for identifying top candidates and maintaining an ongoing interest in your company amidst the tough competition of today.


In addition to the elements discussed above, strain on resources can make the hiring process even more difficult. Very often, companies deal with urgent hires; perhaps an employee had to take a long leave, a new position was created, or the workload of a certain department grew unexpectedly. When faced with this situation, the lack of time and resources to find a quick hire who is also of high caliber can be a major challenge.

This is why companies are advised to build a talent pipeline; a stock of great candidates that they can reach out to whenever they need to hire. Yet, building a talent pipeline is easier said than done. Companies can't rely on their social media audience for example, as many of them are not necessarily relevant as employees. Likewise, companies' websites or other online platforms often lack engagement and the right context to source some potential candidates for the company's vacancies.

This is also why companies use job sites such as to post their vacancies, or to directly search CVs and find their next employees. But aside from that, companies have the potential to build a professional audience: a group of relevant followers who look up to the company, want to hear from it, engage with its content and employees, and eventually become part of the organization.

Based on these three challenges that are causing competition for top talent to become more strenuous, employer branding has become a hot topic and the solution for this dilemma. Companies that want to be perceived as an employer of choice are in dire need for a platform to target specific segments and attract the most suitable candidates, to construct a follower base that is easily transformed to a hiring pipeline, to highlight their mission and vision and values, to showcase their workplace and environment, to celebrate their unique culture, and to engage and build meaningful connections with potential employees.

There is an increasing demand from jobseekers for more information on potential employers and their company culture; and in the same vein, there is a demand for companies to brand themselves as ideal employers and to gather an online following that they can target to help them identify top talent and fulfill their hiring needs.

Earlier this month, announced the roll out of its new branding platform, which allows companies to target custom audiences through tailor-made ads with premium placement and homepage integration, as well as the ability to create custom mailers and set ad impressions, among many other features for employer branding.

As a path towards more effective talent attraction, employer branding through a dedicated platform can address all the challenges discussed earlier by, one, bringing to light all the unique elements that make up the company's culture and workplace, two, providing more information for job seekers and professionals who are interested in the company in the right context and the right time, and, three, securing a relevant follower base and a talent pipeline that can be accessed at any point.

In a way, employer branding through dedicated professional platforms has reinterpreted online hiring and how it can be done. Through a marketing-HR crossover, a branding platform can bolster a company's brand and reputation, it can grow the company's audience, it can secure more exposure to the company's news and updates, and it can build the company's future talent pipeline.

Related: How Employer Branding Can Help Your Company Be Perceived As A Great Place To Work

Suhail Al-Masri

VP of Sales,

Suhail Al-Masri is the VP of Employer Solutions at Al-Masri has more than 20 years of experience in sales leadership, consultative sales, account management, marketing management, and operations management. His mission at goes in line with the company's mission to empower people with the tools and knowledge to build their lifestyles of choice.

Growing a Business

This Nurse-Turned-Entrepreneur Saw the Needs of Underserved Communities Firsthand. Now, His Company Uses AI to Help Them.

Kwamane Liddell, the innovative founder behind ThriveLink, shares his entrepreneurial journey.


6 Ways to Make Money from Home

Working from home has plenty of benefits, but how can you get started? Explore popular ways entrepreneurs are making money from the comfort of their homes.

Growing a Business

He Immigrated to the U.S. and Got a Job at McDonald's — Then His Aversion to Being 'Too Comfortable' Led to a Fast-Growing Company That's Hard to Miss

Voyo Popovic launched his moving and storage company in 2018 — and he's been innovating in the industry ever since.

Growth Strategies

With A Goal To Fully Decarbonize The Last-Mile Industry, UAE-Based One Moto Secures US$40 Million In Lease Financing

With a goal to fully decarbonize the last-mile industry, the startup aims to introduce 50,000 electric delivery vehicles in the UAE by 2025.


Why You Have to Let People Fail Now So They Can Succeed Later

Letting people fail helps them think critically and make their own decisions.


Paradigm, Episode 1: Triliv Founder Jigar Sagar On Shaping The Business Landscape Of The UAE

Paradigm is a new podcast by Entrepreneur TV Middle East that explores success paradigms in the dynamic world of business and entrepreneurship.