DUBAI: A new survey has found that about 70 percent of companies in Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are finding it difficult to search candidates for senior positions with the required skills.

According to the recent and YouGov ‘Skills Gap in the Middle East and North Africa’ survey, among the 1,350 MENA employers surveyed, respondents are experiencing difficulty filling open positions as they struggle to find employees with the relevant skills that they need.

The survey revealed that 70 percent of companies in MENA say that finding candidates for senior positions with the required skills is difficult (21 percent say it is ‘very difficult’), and 49 percent say that finding candidates for junior positions with the required skills is difficult (11 percent say it is ‘very difficult’).

“As the EMEA economy grows, positions are harder to fill.”

“This is particularly surprising due to the fact that the job market is difficult these days. In the MENA region, only 17 percent of companies surveyed are currently searching for new employees. From these, most demand is seen for entry-level positions, with only 10 percent of employers surveyed currently searching for director-level candidates,” a statement said.

It said even with limited hiring demand, it is still challenging for employers to find candidates with the required skill sets, particularly for senior positions.

The survey conducted by – one of the leading Middle East’s job site and YouGov – a research and consulting agency says that ‘technical skills’ are often seen as posing the least challenge, while ‘soft skills’ are regarded as most lacking.

‘Creative thinking’ (63 percent), ‘critical thinking/problem solving’ (63 percent), ‘adaptability / managing multiple priorities’ (60 percent) and ‘international work experience (60 percent) were seen as the most difficult skills to find at a senior level, the survey established.

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