The government through law, policy and spending has a large hand to play in creating urgency, vision and clarity. Greater focus is needed on key aspects of government that affect nationalization including social support, education, labor, innovation and business, immigration and public sector recruitment.
Removing duplication or contradictory effort from the system and approaching the complexity with programs that are agile is essential. Acknowledging the complexity of nationalization and appealing to key stakeholders for support is another important step government must take. A systemic, social challenge like nationalization requires more bold and courageous leadership, a compelling vision for all stakeholders and recognition that the challenge is hard.
Family and community play an important role in shaping the experiences and decisions of youth in education and their careers. Despite their influence, the level of engagement families and communities have remains mixed. Increasing the level of involvement parents and communities have in the lives of young people especially in education and the wider context of career choice is important. Parents must help young people think beyond salary and benefits and highlight the future needs of the community and country. Educating parents and communities, providing them with tools and tips on how to engage youth on key issues is an important step in encouraging greater engagement. Not enough is being done at this influential level to re-shape the expectations and values of youth coming into the workplace.
Education and Workplace Readiness
The education system must focus increasingly on creating more resilient and agile thinkers. In an increasingly complex world, a world made more complex by the multi-cultural demographics of the region, graduates must have the soft-skills in order to thrive. The cultural transition from school to the workplace, in particular a multi-cultural private sector workplace, is still hard. The high first year churn rate of nationals in the private sector indicates this. School’s must expose students to a wider range of experiences, challenges and growth opportunities in order to create a mindset in students that can adapt to change.
Private Sector Strategy
The private has largely failed to reconcile nationalization within its strategic outlook. There remains divisions throughout large organizations about how to approach nationalization, the responsibility organizations have and the benefits to be gained. Without reconciling these divisions, developing a coherent and affective strategy is hard.The private sector stands to gain significantly from nationalization in the long-term and must invest the time and resources into understanding how.
Money, Security, Benefits and Recruitment
The private sector can’t compete with the public sector on the very thing that graduates and society values: money, security and benefits. A survey published in September 2015 recorded that 100% of participants said salary was the most important factor influencing job choice. Compare this to studies on American graduates that show only 67% of survey participants prioritise salary.
The regional expectation on salary has been created in part by the monetary wealth and comfortable living conditions many nationals of the oil rich Gulf nations have experienced in the last 30 years. When these expectations combine with the better pay and benefits of the public sector, and the fact 67% of job seekers think working in the private sector will be hard, it is clear why private sector nationalization is suffering.
The private sector can not compete on salary but is able to out compete the public sector in other areas job seekers deem valuable. In a recent survey, given the same salary and work hours, personal and career development opportunities and workplace culture are most important to national job seekers.
More needs to be done to decrease the pay and benefits gap between the private and public sector. The private sector must do more to highlight the personal and career development opportunities and their great workplace cultures. Job seekers need more opportunities to interact with the private sector in informal, real-world settings so both parties can see how each other think, behave and work. Finally, on-boarding and support programs that help with the transition into the private sector makes saying yes to the private sector so much easier.
Crossing Cultural Borders
Multi-culturalism is a defining feature of the region. Despite the mix of cultures that make up regional societies, the formal culture that youth are exposed to is their own national culture. Their national culture is pervasive in the home, at school and the community. The lack of integration and exposure to the range of other cultures in the early years means transitioning into multi-cultural workplaces and learning environments can be very difficult. From management and leadership relationships to the structure and delivery of education and support programs, being sensitive to the cultural context is the difference between national recruits thriving or churning out of the private sector.
Recognising the differences between cultural preferences and expectations is like recognising differences between learning styles and personality types. Both parties must have the skills to successfully cross the cultural borders and meet each other in the middle. More needs to be done in education, workplace readiness programs and the private sector to bridge the cultural divide.
Resilience, Innovation and Entrepreneurship
People are creative. Our minds are capable of thinking in new and interesting ways. It is our most natural state. Unfortunately, society, education and the workplace train us to think differently and does’t do enough to recognise the value of creative thinking even though our survival depends on it. In an increasingly complex world where more challenges on the scale of nationalization are emerging, adaptive, resilient and creative thinking has never been more important.
Young people in the region need to be exposed to more experiences that empower them to think innovatively. True innovation is forged out of need, desperation, passion, desire and failure. People must feel it is safe to fail and culturally they must be allowed to fail. It is important in a regional culture that struggles with failure that the failure of an idea or company is distinguished from personal failure. Ideas can fail and must fail. People only fail when they give up and stop trying.
Innovation and entrepreneurship are skills young people must develop in the region if the number of jobs needed are to be created. From education to national service, regional societies must do as much of possible to inspire and empower young people to be innovators within organizations or by starting their own.