A recent Management Challenges in the MENA poll conducted by Bayt.com, the region’s number one job site, has uncovered that 24.3% of managers in the region look for ‘professional success’ above all else in candidates. Employees, on the other hand, prioritize ‘open, respectful communications’ with their managers.

Team-playing skills were found to be second most important when hiring. In fact, 22.1% of managers will choose a candidate who knows how to work in a team over character (14.7%), general success (11.4%), technical skills (10.7%), communication skills (6.6%), leadership (5.5%) and academic success (4.7%).

The poll also showed that 79.7% of managers have no issues hiring colleagues who are more qualified than themselves. The majority (62.9%) would hire a qualified candidate who is ‘very different’ – only 10.6% say that they will not do so. Mid-career employees are considered to be hardest to manage by 37.2% of respondents, though a close 34.4% believe that those at entry level are harder.

Most managers (29.9%) claim that the most difficult aspect of their job is managing multicultural teams, though building trust and loyalty is also considered challenging by 24.8%. According to the poll, the other areas that managers find challenging are motivating and inspiring teams (18.6%), encouraging open communications (16.2%), training and coaching (5.7%), as well as delegating adequately (4.8%).

“As is shown by the results of our poll, the diverse nationalities that make up the typical working environment in the Middle East can prove to be as challenging as it is culturally enriching,” said Amer Zureikat, VP Sales at Bayt.com. “Bayt.com offers a comprehensive selection of employment resources, guides and articles, all tailored for the MENA work culture. We also offer extensive listings for jobseekers and employers alike.”

Almost half of respondents (44%) believe that micromanagement is essential, with only 14.4% thinking that it is a ‘very bad idea’. Interestingly, 53.4% of managers believe that their delegation skills are just right. When it comes to underperformance, 47.9% state that they will fire an employee after several warnings, while 37.3% will dismiss after just one warning.

In terms of relationships, 71.5% of managers describe their relationships with their team as friendly; almost a quarter claim a more formal relationship, while 3.9% chose ‘fearful’ to describe their team interactions. Complementary to these figures, 68.2% of managers claim that they enjoy their position to a large extent.

As far as employees are concerned, the conduct they seek most from their manager is ‘open, respectful communications’, with 35.1% choosing this over other options. Also, 20% place stock in a good work environment; 16.6% want rewards and career progression; 13.4% want training and learning; 9.9% want a good work-life balance and only 5% value long-term security.

Of those who responded to the poll, 42.1% believe that they have an ‘excellent’ manager – however, 31.1% describe their manager as having ‘poor management skills’.

Data for the Bayt.com Management Challenges in the MENA poll was collected online from November 10 – December 30, 2011, with 10,754 respondents from Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, KSA and the UAE.


Rushika Bhatia Editor

Rushika Bhatia is one of the region’s leading commentators on business and current affairs issues. She is the Editor of SME Advisor magazine - the flagship title of CPI Business. She is passionate about infographics – with special emphasis on data, research and statistics. Rushika has a Bachelor’s Degree from Indiana University, USA and is also CIMA qualified.

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