Are and why Young People leaving the Cities

This article is published in collaboration with The Conversation on 19 May 2017 and written by Jason Twill, Innovation Fellow and Senior Lecturer, School of Architecture, University of Technology Sydney.  Are and why young people leaving the cities of the developed world ?

Would it be the same for the megapolises of the MENA region or is it already happening for other reasons? 

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As more and more young people these days are unable to afford purchasing their own home, reverting to renting as the first and only substitute is progressing.  The reasons are various and no alternative would be attractive enough to allow the “Renters Generation” to settle in as easily as more and more of these are flocking to all major cities worldwide for better life and good opportunities. This article is published in collaboration with The Conversation on 19 May 2017 and written by Jason Twill, Innovation Fellow and Senior Lecturer, School of Architecture, University of Technology Sydney. Are and why young people leaving the cities of the developed world ?
Would it be the same for the megapolises of the MENA region or is it already happening for other reasons?  In any case here is that interesting article of the WEF with our compliments to the writers and thanks to the publishers.
Image above is of REUTERS

This is the bright flight, or why young people are leaving the cities

If the growth of cities in the 20th century was marked by “white flight”, the 21st century is shaping up to be the era of “bright flight”. The young, highly educated and restless are being priced out of many of the world’s major cities.

They are choosing instead to set themselves up in smaller, regional cities. These offer access to less expensive housing and abundant cheap workspace. The barriers to entering the workforce or starting up a business are lower.

The “metropolitan pressure” of rapid urbanisation is generating a talent spill-over effect, which is setting the stage for a new era of urban winners and losers. This talent leakage is primarily made up of the “forgotten ones” – those who don’t qualify for social housing, but who are unable to afford market-rate housing.

In this age of of hyper-urban migration, where talent goes, capital flows. Cities need to respond to this migration trend and provide adequate housing solutions to retain talent. If not, it could shape up to be a major economic challenge as many are relying on this cohort of knowledge sector and tech-focused workers to lead them into the digital age.

Image: UN World Cities Report

Lessons from the rise of the suburbs

Many will know the urban story, or rather sub-urban story, of the mid-20th century. It was an era marked by “white flight”, the term used to describe the phenomenon of predominantly middle and upper-class Caucasians leaving urban centres to live in the suburbs.

For some, it was a chance to have their dream home in a culturally and ideologically homogeneous neighbourhood replete with white picket fences and enabled by access to cheap debt and favourable tax incentives.

From the cities’ perspective, this migration was devastating. Cities saw their tax revenues drained as higher-income earners fled to the ’burbs. At the same time, these cities required increased investment in social services, housing and education for low-income residents who largely had no choice but to stay in urban centres.

Over a few decades, this exodus led to severe economic and social decay in many of the world’s cities. By the mid-1970s, even New York was on the verge of bankruptcy.

Reversal drives an urban renaissance

This era of “white flight”, however, began to fade in the later part of the 20th century as a new generation of urbanites flocked to cities across the world.

What we are experiencing now is nothing short of a modern urban renaissance. From the very young to the very old, from singles to families, people are moving to cities in droves, drawn by the excitement, cultural diversity, eclecticism and array of employment opportunities that urban living offers.

Global cities like London and New York have rebounded from this era of urban decay better than they could ever have expected. In many ways, however, they have been too successful for their own good. The reverse migration back to the city has placed enormous pressure on our metropolitan regions.

As urban populations grow, so too does the level of investment needed for cities to function well. The investment is required to improve ageing infrastructure, expand mass transit, increase housing supply and extend capacity of civil services.

But making all these upgrades to improve and sustainably grow our cities creates another challenge: it increases competition for space. The more we increase density in our cities, the more expensive land becomes. The more expensive land becomes, the more expensive housing becomes, so people get priced out of their city of choice and move on.

Spilling over to second-tier cities

This pattern has been playing out for a some time now in the US. The spill-over of talent from top-tier cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco has flowed into more regional cities such as Seattle, Portland, Austin, Philadelphia and Denver.

Australia doesn’t have many regional cities that, like Minneapolis in the US, offer a place for talented workers to migrate within the country.

These second-tier cities have been the beneficiaries of this new wave of tech-savvy, knowledge sector workers. With all those bright workers around, companies like Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon soon followed.

As a result, these cities now have some of the hottest property markets in the world. And they are now experiencing their own growing pains as housing prices have soared and the next wave of talent are being priced out.

And so the pattern continues and the talent spills into even more regional cities like Charlotte, Chattanooga and Minneapolis.

Read more on the original site of the WEF.
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Qatar will not Negotiate with Arab States during Blockade

Qatar will not Negotiate with Arab States during Blockade unless they reverse their measures,” Qatar Foreign Affairs minister was reported as saying by the Saudi owned and Dubai based TV channel Al Arabiya on June 19, 2017.  This was presumably in response to the non-equivocal statement of the UAE’s minister of FA who confirmed that his country together with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt are standing firm on their decision of 2 weeks ago to isolate Qatar from the rest of the GCC countries and that this isolation could last years.
Meanwhile, the Financial Times’ Gideon Rachman warned its readership that the Qatar crisis could . . . .

Qatar will not Negotiate with Arab States during Blockade unless they reverse their measures,” Qatar Foreign Affairs minister was reported as saying by the Saudi owned and Dubai based TV channel Al Arabiya on June 19, 2017.  This was presumably in response to the non-equivocal statement of the UAE’s minister of FA who confirmed that his country together with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt are standing firm on their decision of 2 weeks ago to isolate Qatar from the rest of the GCC countries and that this isolation could last years.

Meanwhile, the Financial Times‘ Gideon Rachman warned its readership that the Qatar crisis could have global implications before adding that the Gulf States have been untouched by Middle Eastern turmoil but that is changing.  Elaborating further, the author sustains that for the past six years, there have been two Arab worlds.  “The world of violence and tragedy; and the world of glitz and globalisation.  Syria, Iraq, Libya and, to a lesser extent, Egypt — have been engulfed by conflict.  But Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Dubai have prospered as global hubs for travel, leisure, business and finance.”  And that “The booming Gulf metropolises seemed untouched by the violence in the rest of the Middle East.  They even profited indirectly, as safe havens in a region in turmoil.”

All that is fine or at least up until the author wonders whether the glitzy world of the Gulf could collapse in the same way it rapidly climbed to the shining lights of the world of fame and fortune.

In the meantime, there seems to be a wall as advanced by Gideon Rachman that is rammed down by this sudden irruption of the Qatar crisis of a blockade by its neighbours.

To well understand the underlying culture, it is worth remembering that since time immemorial, there has always been some sort of divide between the nomads and sedentarized populations of the Arab World.  It is no surprise that all Arab countries of today having recently gone through historical phases of Ottoman domination and rule, European domination and rule followed by independence through a well-publicized panarbism and self-rule via differing forms of governance.  Hence countries belonging to one or the other group have settled into on one hand monarchies, sultanates, emirates and on the other republics.  These latter are as well known to all in a very derelict situations but the other up until this Qatar crisis have with the advent of oil shone in their multi-faceted exploits of surging into the international limelight.  The latest exploit of individual countries are countless but most importantly is the Gulf wide exploit of the rail project development that should span traffic from Kuwait to Oman, along the western shore of the Arab-Persian Gulf.  This project as well as many others all in and / or around Qatar such as the Expo 2020 in Dubai as well as the Qatar 2022 World Cup will no doubt bear some consequences of this crisis.  Referring to the map of the Gulf above, could the proposed Alternative extension linking Qatar to the rest of the GCC pay the price of such regional skirmish.

Saudi Arabia is banning Egyptian Agriculture

According to a report of Reuters dated Sunday June 18, 2017, Saudi Arabia is banning Egyptian Agriculture. It is in the midst of what is called the Gulf crisis in which Egypt sided with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain in blockading Qatar.  Egypt is well known since ancient times to produce along the Nile and its delta a wide range of traditionally grown cereals. More recently these include rice that became one of the major field crops and the second most important export crop after cotton.  The country’s exports include all other vegetables and fruits like for instance the object of this article Strawberries.

According to a report of Reuters dated Sunday June 18, 2017, Saudi Arabia is banning Egyptian Agriculture. It is in the midst of what is called the Gulf crisis in which Egypt sided with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain in blockading Qatar.  Egypt is well known since ancient times to produce along the Nile and its delta a wide range of traditionally grown cereals. More recently these include rice that became one of the major field crops and the second most important export crop after cotton.  The country’s exports include all other vegetables and fruits like for instance the object of this article Strawberries.
On the other hand Saudi Arabia despite its harsh climate and predominantly desert lands produces cereals, vegetables and fruits including of course date-palm.
Once again, it is to be noted that dialogue appears to be a no way of resolving matters of diversion and / or is completely absent between the parties.  Banning seems to be the ready made tool to brandish everytime a problem arises.

Saudi Arabia bans imports of Egyptian strawberries

CAIRO (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia is banning imports of Egyptian strawberries due to pesticide residues, said Abdel Hamid al-Demerdash, the head of Egypt’s Agriculture Export Council, the latest such ban to hit Egypt as it struggles to revive its economy.

The temporary ban comes into effect on July 11, Demerdash told Reuters on Sunday, adding that the memo received from Saudi Arabia did not specify the levels of residues detected or name the companies that have committed violations.

“Egypt will not face large losses due to the ban as the exporting season for strawberries ended on April 10,” Demerdash said. He added that strawberries represent 5-10 percent of the country’s total agricultural exports.

Since a currency float in November, which roughly cut the pound’s value in half, Egyptian exports have been welcomed in new markets due to their increased competitiveness.

Exports of Egyptian vegetables, fruits and legumes amounted to $2.2 billion last year. The main fruit exports include oranges and strawberries.

A series of bans of Egyptian exports however has hurt the image of an import-dependent country seeking to step up exports and curb imports in an effort to narrow its trade deficit.

Exports could also help bring in desperately needed foreign currency that has been low in supply as a result of the 2011 Arab Spring uprising that drove away tourists and investors.

Sudan banned imports of agricultural and animal products from Egypt last month.

The United Arab Emirates also banned imports of peppers from Egypt a month earlier

“I expect the crisis of Egyptian agricultural exports to Arab countries to be resolved before the beginning of the new export season which begins mid-November,” Demerdash said.

Egypt exports about 1.2 million tonnes of agricultural produce to Arab countries annually, he added.

Russia temporarily banned imports of Egyptian fruit and vegetables at the end of last year shortly after a Hepatitis A scare in North America was linked to frozen Egyptian strawberries.

Russia’s temporary ban came shortly after Egypt rejected wheat shipments containing traces of the common grain fungus ergot. Russia denied the two issues were related.

(Reporting by Ehab Farouk; writing by Arwa Gaballa; editing by Louise Heavens)

© Thomson Reuters 2017 All rights reserved

 

Impact of non-conventional Finance in Algeria  

The purpose of this contribution is to analyze the operationality of the adopted unconventional financing by the Council of Ministers of June 14, 2017. This is done by a critical review of the impact of non-conventional Finance in Algeria that appears to be not a suitable response at this conjecture. This method of finance is by the way applicable to a structured competitive market economy, with idle production factors, i.e. underemployed equipment and skilled labour whereas Algeria suffers from structural rigidities with a dieback productive fabric and a total dependence on the volatile price of oil, hence the risk of printing more money, with a consequent inflationary process.

The purpose of this contribution is to analyze the operationality of the adopted unconventional financing by the Council of Ministers of June 14, 2017.  This is done by a critical review of the impact of non-conventional Finance in Algeria that appears to be not a suitable response at this conjecture. This method of finance is by the way applicable to a structured competitive market economy, with idle production factors, i.e. underemployed equipment and skilled labour whereas Algeria suffers from structural rigidities with a dieback productive fabric and a total dependence on the volatile price of oil, hence the risk of printing more money, with a consequent inflationary process. 

The Foundation of the non-conventional funding

The Council of Ministers held unconventional financing which is a recipe of anticipating the growing demand in investment and consumption but in the case of structural rigidities and not boosting the productive fabric, it could end up speeding up the inflationary process.

Unconventional financing has been used but in a structured market economy with potential for possible added value in the case of growing businesses or companies in restructuring, used when traditional financing does not enable an enterprise to fully develop, or when funding is simply not available.

In fact, when a company has assets and/or generates a cash flow, non-conventional financing options open to it, in addition to the traditional financing.

Central banks have used these methods which may take the form of easing of certain standards of conventional monetary policy and massive injections of liquidity into the financial system in circumstances which justify, including with the occurrence of a risk of deflation, a stock or bond market crash, bankruptcy of a large credit institution and crisis of confidence in the financial sector.

This is how for instance, the Bank of England launched in July 2012 the Funding for Lending Scheme (FSL) to encourage banks and loan companies to lend more to households and non-financial private corporations. This method has helped credit institutions to refinance loans in the long term by providing in return a wider range of collateral facilities.

This program has also inspired the Long-term Target Refinancing Operation (TLTRO) of the European Central Bank.  Specifically, the non-conventional measures are temporary monetary policy measures whose goal is the restoration of the transmission of the monetary policy and ultimately channels support to bank credit and liquidity in the monetary market.

In any case, the non-conventional measures fall into three categories.

  • First, quantitative easing (QE) measures are those measures by which the Central Bank offers an unlimited amount of money to commercial banks.
  • Saturation of demand for money of these must lead them to spend surplus balances, that is, they grant more Bank loans to households and businesses again.
  • Second, measures of orientation of the future rate expectations are for the Central Bank to engage in the future path of rates contributing to lower interest rates in medium and long term and so to bring them closer to the rate of the Central Bank.  These take the form of explicit commitments to maintaining a very low level or zero rate for a significant period of time.
  • Third, the easing of the credit tend to bypass the blocking of credit channel caused either by the phenomenon of ‘door to liquidity’, or tensions on some key segments of the financial markets.

The Central Bank then acts as a “last resort” by directly funding the economy.

De facto a relaxation of the eligibility criteria will lead banks to less hesitation in their risk-taking, and so to grant more loans to companies of medium or small size.

Keynesian theory cannot be applied to the Algerian economy

Political ‘strategies’ of Keynesian stimulus are based on the importance of the role of the State as regulator and not as state-manager of the economy.

As far as Keynes is concerned, the State is able to stimulate demand when it is insufficient through monetary injection by anticipating the revival of aggregate demand in investment and consumption.  The use of factors of production is according to Keynes due to the fact that entrepreneurs have pessimistic expectations whilst underestimating the actual demand; the salary is not only a cost, but an important determinant of demand.

Investment cannot “start” if business expectations are not positive. It’s a matter of consumers’ confidence; to implement the means of distribution of wealth allowing economic agents who have the average propensity to consume the highest (i.e. all ‘disadvantaged’ social categories) to spend and therefore kick-start the economic machine; lower interest rates to stimulate consumption and investment credit and finally to embark on a policy of major public works will cause a multiplier and accelerator of investment income.

The recovery of consumption will bring in investment increase so employment will be improved and this thanks to the income multiplier. The State intervenes transiently in time of crisis so located as part of short-term actions applying the elasticity available factors of production, equipment, and work quality.

Also the Keynesian, short-term and based on assumptions reasoning of a closed economy, has resisted any long-term vision of the economy, unlike the conventional theories of Adam Smith (morality), of David Ricardo, Karl Marx and Joseph Schumpeter who internalizes the dynamics of institutions and dynamics of social groups.

However with the current crisis we, taking into account the interdependence of economies, need a dynamic model for the medium and long term, the new ecological challenge and this unbearable duality between North and South, for a shared responsibility; governance of many leaders of the Third World being most questionable.

The growing internationalization of economies at the present time is a major limiting factor on the model. Thus, in the light of the Algerian experience, the Keynesian model is hardly transposable. For this country in 2016, 97 / 98% of foreign exchange earnings came directly and indirectly from hydrocarbon, 83% of the productive fabric is made up of small trade/services enterprise, the industrial sector less than 5% of GDP with more of 95% made up of little innovative SMIs and SMEs.

So there exist on one hand incompressible but necessary imports for the public and the productive segments, 70% of public and private – enterprise integration rate below 15%, working with imported inputs.

In case of not stimulating the productive sector between 2017 and 2020, by sticking to our own internal financing, we would necessarily deplete the foreign exchange reserves. As foreign exchange reserves sustain the value of the Dinar (DZD) already officially rated at more than DZD120 an Euro and over DZD190 per Euro on the parallel market, the amount of reserves of $10 to $20 billion will necessarily mean an official rating of over DZD200 per Euro, possibly leading towards to an inflationary process with necessarily raising of interest rates.

Because between 2000 and 2016, we have seen bad programming, overestimation of costs and long delays in the execution of vital projects, with very important budget overruns including the appearance of gaps between the budget planning and sectoral priorities, the lack of effective interventions due to fragmentation of the budget as a result of the separation between the investment budget and the operating budget potentially significant contingent liabilities, long delays and extra costs for the execution of the projects.

This testifies on the weakness of the enforcement capacity of the State agencies that neither the line ministries, nor the Department of Finance have sufficient technical capacity to oversee the quality of these studies, limiting itself to financial control, technical or physical follow-up exercised by entities or at best by insufficient and unknown enforcement.

Many weaknesses are rooted in the urgency that accompanies the preparation of projects including the myriad of specific requests that the projects are supposed to respond to with overlaps of responsibilities between the various authorities and stakeholders (from dozens of ministerial committees and commissions of local authorities) that witch economists refer to as transaction costs and this because of a non-optimal institutional organization.

Therefore, we would have 4 impacts of inefficiency in public spending:

  1. on the value of imports because the swelling is the essentially to public spending.
  2. on the inflationary process that is originally for part of inflation and very incidentally wages that are less than 25% reported to gross domestic product;
  3. on the balance of payments of the fact that the doubling of the value of services between 2002 and 2016 of $10 to $11 billion a year mainly concerns the infrastructure/oil (foreign aid) post referring to the devaluation of knowledge;
  4. on the global and sectoral growth rate. Here also the numbers need to be replaced into their true contexts because hydrocarbons irrigate the whole economy and nonhydrocarbon segment of more than 80% with a total of 5 to 6% of non-oil growth rate as invoked by officials ( on average between 2000 and 2016), remaining only real businesses real participation of less than 10% of the total of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as shown for several years (about 3% of the total) nonhydrocarbon export.

Non-conventional financing and the inflationary

Generally, public spending has its own limits as shown in the recent global crisis, and the fundamental strategic problem which arises in Algeria lies in the urgency of a renewed good governance as based on a Rule of Law and the Democratisation of decisions, development of a competitive national or international enterprise as founded on the development of knowledge. How can we forget that during the national conference on economic and social development on November 4, 2014 in the presence of the Prime Minister at the time and members of the Government, reproduced in October / November 2014 in the national and international press, I had proposed to deepen structural reforms and put in place a broad social front against the fall in the prices of oil under the title “Prof. Mebtoul advocates the creation of an independent Committee to safeguard against the effects of the crisis”.

Were we listened to since then?

Ministry of Finance in Algiers

The monetary expense encouraged by infrastructure building is only one way that has little impact for sustainable development.  There is urgency to pose real problems to the deepening of the comprehensive reform for a true development of non-hydrocarbon and the passage from a rentier to a non-oil economy.

And only internal reforms would allow change and reach sustainable growth in non-hydrocarbon condition of value-added job creation, ending gradually this volatile growth and subject to external shocks, monetary expenditures without worrying about the impacts and the importance of foreign exchange reserves, is not synonymous with development because function, the price of oil.

However, paradoxically, the advanced or the acceleration of reforms in Algeria is inversely proportional to the price of oil, being held back when prices rise making it for Algeria to wonder whether oil was a blessing or a curse?

ademmebtoul@gmail.com

How To Secure Employee Loyalty In The Middle East

Suhail Al Masri
Suhail Al-Masri wrote on June 12th, 2017 on Entrepreneur Middle East about How To Secure Employee Loyalty In The Middle East. This is a very important topic that is often overlooked in the workplace. Please find below the extensive version of the article.

Once you have got the best people on board your enterprise, it’s then important to not be complacent about your employees- doing so will see you losing your best people, and we all know that recruiting a new person will involve a lot of time, energy and cost, all of which are resources that startups or SMEs cannot afford to waste. To retain talent, you need to secure their loyalty, and that means you, the entrepreneur at the helm of the company, need to be consistently reviewing the work environment that you are building in your organization. Remember, employee loyalty is not something you can be lax about- it is a key indicator of your startup’s efficiency, and your likelihood of success in the long term.

Companies are highly interested in discovering the best practices out there for securing top talent. Every employer wants to make sure every new member they add to the company is able to contribute positively. But sometimes, companies find themselves without a clear plan to engage those employees who have long ago passed the screening and hiring phases. Namely, those who have began their months and years of hard work and dedication, and are no longer under the spotlight. Some employees might’ve assimilated so well to the company culture and work requirement that it is hard to recall their induction phase.

Others have proven to be extremely talented and skillful to the extent that they are taken for granted, which could cause them to feel neglected or undervalued at times. The reality is, it takes just as much effort to retain top talent as it does to find them in the first place. Employee loyalty often comes to focus around this time of the year. Having undergone a busy season of performance evaluations, feedback, and possible promotions or salary raises, most professionals find it now appropriate to evaluate their career trajectory and to begin making adjustments as they see fit.

 Having said that, employee loyalty is not a seasonal topic. It is, in fact, one of the most important indicators of efficient work environments; it affects individual performance and often correlates with overall productivity and healthy work dynamics. Bayt.com poll, Employee Loyalty in the Middle East and North Africa, revealed that nearly nine in 10 respondents (88.9%) agree that high employee loyalty drives more productivity in the workplace.

Many managers and business leaders would be happy to hear that 79.4% of respondents from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) said that they are loyal to their companies. But take that with a grain of salt: employee loyalty is not unconditional. There are several requisites that professionals always expect to have and there are many areas that could be enhanced in order to truly secure employee loyalty. Employee loyalty can quickly decline if companies stop listening to their employees and finding new methods to give them the necessary career boost.

Related: Protecting Your MVP: Going To Great Lengths For Your Team Is In Your Best Interest

What employee loyalty really means

Many companies mistakenly look at only one element when measuring employee loyalty. It is easy to get this wrong but employee loyalty is not synonymous with retention rate. Surely, with higher employee attrition loyalty will suffer, but employee loyalty comprises many more elements. In fact, only 11.1% of professionals polled by Bayt.com, the Middle East’s leading job site, associate the number of years at a company with loyalty, making it the least commonly cited one.

According to the Bayt.com poll, Employee Loyalty in the Middle East and North Africa, a third of employees refer to confidentiality, even after resigning from a company, as the most vital factor for being loyal. 30.3% of respondents think of loyalty as being dedicated and abiding by the rules and values of the business. Another quarter (25.3%) define loyalty as taking initiative and promoting the company’s vision and interests. Loyalty in the Middle East entails the aforementioned definitions and more. Now is the time that such a comprehensive definition and approach towards employee loyalty are adopted by all companies and organizations in the MENA region.

Why companies should care about loyalty The general consensus among respondents across the MENA region (88.9%) is that employee loyalty contributes extensively towards productivity and towards achieving goals and objectives. Having such understanding of loyalty can be transformative for every business. Employee loyalty is not a microscopic issue concerning individual workers or distinct personalities. Employee loyalty is a company-wide development that can hugely influence the bottom line. Securing loyalty is a big endeavor that employers should aim to implement with the help of managers, human resource officers, and all employees.

Other benefits of employee loyalty cited in the Bayt.com poll, Employee Loyalty in the Middle East and North Africa, include higher efficiency (32.1%) and stronger team relationships and dynamics (30.8%). A quarter of respondents feel that employee loyalty correlates with employee satisfaction. 6.2% of respondents suggest that loyalty leads to lower turnover rates, which in turn means lower costs spent on sourcing, hiring, onboarding, and training talent. What influences employee loyalty Having recovered a more wide-ranging definition of employee loyalty, it is no longer surprising that the factors and elements that drive loyalty up and down are varied.

Indeed, this is where differences in personalities and work styles come into play. Certain employees may be influenced by one factor and not the other. Nonetheless, there is agreement among professionals over certain factors. 83.2% of respondents to the Bayt.com poll, Employee Loyalty in the Middle East and North Africa, say that the office and work environment is an important factor for fostering loyalty. Without doubt, work environment is more than architecture and furniture; it also involves communication, flexibility, and overall work culture.

More than a quarter (28%) of respondents feel that loyalty depends on income. Others (19.2%) disclosed that loyalty is dependent on being rewarded. Top management has also been listed for its impact on loyalty by 19.1% of respondents, whereas 17.4% believe it’s all about team members and the people they work with on regular basis.

How companies can secure employee loyalty

answer may sound very simple: employees want to feel that they are valued, and that the company is still invested in them and wants to improve their career beyond the initial stages of hiring and on-boarding. The lack of career growth opportunities was cited as the top reason for damaging employee loyalty in the Bayt.com poll, Employee Loyalty in the Middle East and North Africa. This sentiment was also echoed in the 2016 Bayt. com Career Development in the Middle East survey.

Many employees felt that their companies are failing to equip them with the learning and training opportunities needed to ensure their career growth. This leaves the employee feeling disadvantaged in their jobs. In fact, more than three quarters of professionals say that they are ready to leave their company for better training opportunities. Companies need to focus on providing training opportunities that address their employees’ exact needs and preferences.

Bayt.com, for example, has repeatedly emphasized providing state-of-the-art training and support. The Middle East’s leading job site also cares about fostering a work environment where teamwork and creativity can flourish and ideas can be shared freely. As a result, Bayt.com’s headcount has been growing steadily and rapidly, their turnover is at a healthy low-level, and they have been awarded the Top Ten Places to Work in the UAE award for four consecutive years, the People and Culture of the Year award (2012), and the Best Workplaces in Asia list (2015).

Aside from continuous learning and professional development opportunities, employees have many expectations from their companies that would in turn enhance their loyalty. Fairness in treatment was named the most popular choice by 22.4% of respondents to the Bayt.com poll, Employee Loyalty in the Middle East and North Africa, followed by wanting credit and rewards for their achievements by 21.9% of respondents. 18.1% of polltakers look for a company that helps them balance between work and life, and 14.5% believe in the importance of strong relationships with the company and other employees.

The responsibility of enhancing employee loyalty partially falls on the shoulders of managers. In their relationships with their direct managers, employees want to feel that they matter and that they are listened to. Four in 10 respondents (40.7%) think that a direct manager should listen and align the employee goals with the company goals. More than a quarter (27.5%) want managers to help them understand the company’s mission and values and another 23.9% care about strengthening their relationships with management.

Employers in the Middle East and North Africa should be well aware that granting opportunities for growth and advancement and truly listening to what matters to the employee are among the best ways to win their loyalty and support. Once again, we are not simply talking about retention here. Employee loyalty is parallel to dedication, trustworthiness, and positive work ethics that are of huge value to every business. Targeting loyalty plays a central role in furthering the success strategy of any organization or company, regardless of size and activity sector.

Keep this in mind: not only does high employee loyalty translate to higher productivity and satisfaction, it also reassures employers that their work environment is of a high caliber and that they are in a stronger position to keep their highly valued employees motivated and attract more top talent in the future.


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

Human Brilliance, Ingenuity and Skills will always be needed

A brilliantly educational article of Brad Keywell with our compliments shed some light of what awaiting us in the near future.  This is positively a world where Human Brilliance, Ingenuity and Skills will always be needed.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is about empowering people, not the rise of the machines

14 Jun 2017

The world is changing. There’s no way around this fact.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is now. And, whether you know it or not, it will affect you.

Billions of people and countless machines are connected to each other. Through ground-breaking technology, unprecedented processing power and speed, and massive storage capacity, data is being collected and harnessed like never before.

Automation, machine learning, mobile computing and artificial intelligence — these are no longer futuristic concepts, they are our reality.

To many people, these changes are scary.

Previous industrial revolutions have shown us that if companies and industries don’t adapt with new technology, they struggle. Worse, they fail.

Mindset shift

But I strongly believe that these innovations will make industry – and the world – stronger and better.

The change brought by the Fourth Industrial Revolution is inevitable, not optional.

And the possible rewards are staggering: heightened standards of living; enhanced safety and security; and greatly increased human capacity.

For people, there must be a shift in mindset.

As difficult as it may be, the future of work looks very different from the past. I believe people with grit, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit will embrace this future, rather than cling to the status quo.

People can be better at their jobs with the technology of today—and the technology that is yet to come—rather than fearing that their human skills will be devalued.

Human and machine

I’m reminded of chess.

We have all heard the stories about computers beating even the greatest grandmasters. But the story is more nuanced; humans and computers play differently and each has strengths and weaknesses.

Computers prefer to retreat, but they can store massive amounts of data and are unbiased in their decision-making.

Humans can be more stubborn, but also can read their opponent’s weaknesses, evaluate complex patterns, and make creative and strategic decisions to win.

Even the creators of artificial chess-playing machines acknowledge that the best chess player is actually a team of both human and machine.

The world will always need human brilliance, human ingenuity and human skills.

Software and technology have the potential to empower people to a far greater degree than in the past—unlocking the latent creativity, perception and imagination of human beings at every level of every organization.

Power of data, power of people

This shift will enable workers on the front line, on the road and in the field to make smarter decisions, solve tougher problems and do their jobs better.

This is our mission at Uptake—to combine the power of data and the power of people, across global industries.

Here’s what this looks like:

Railroad locomotives are powered by massive, highly complex electrical engines that cost millions of dollars.

When one breaks down, the railroad loses thousands more for every hour it’s out of service (not to mention, there are a lot of angry travellers or cargo customers to deal with).

After the locomotive is towed in for repairs, technicians normally start by running diagnostic tests. These can take hours, and often require technicians to stand next to roaring engines jotting down numbers based on the diagnostic readings.

That’s the old way – or, at least, it should be.

Machines, rather than something to be feared, are the tools that will help us solve the world’s biggest problems  Image: Unsplash/Sorasak

New solutions

When locomotives operated by our customers roll into the shop for routine services, all diagnostics have already been run.

Our software has forecast when, why and how the machine is likely to break down using predictive analytics — algorithms that analyze massive amounts of data generated by the 250 sensors on each locomotive.

Our systems have examined that data within the context of similar machines, subject- matter experts, industry norms and even weather. If there’s a problem, we detect it, and direct the locomotive to a repair facility.

A mechanic can then simply pick up an iPad, and learn in a few minutes exactly what is about to break down, as well as the machine’s history and the conditions it’s been operating under.

Virtuous loop

That leaves the mechanics to do what they do best: fix it, using their experience, judgement and skill. And the mechanics decisions and actions become data that feeds back into the software, improving the analytics and predictions for the next problem.

So, technology didn’t replace mechanics; it empowered them do their job.

In the same way that chess masters and computers work best together, the mechanic used human skills that a machine can’t replicate: ingenuity, creativity and experience. And the technology detected a problem that was unknown and unseen to human eyes.

In short, when the mechanic and the technology work together, the work gets done faster, with fewer errors and better results.

Multiply this across all industries: aviation, energy, transportation, smart cities, manufacturing, natural resources, and construction.

The productivity we unleash could be reminiscent of what the world saw at the advent of the first industrial revolution. But the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution will run much broader, and deeper, than the first.

We’ll have the knowledge, the talent and the tools to solve some of the world’s biggest problems: hunger, climate change, disease.

Machines will supply us with the insight and the perspective we need to reach those solutions. But they won’t supply the judgement or the ingenuity. People will.

 

The WEF recommends to read more on the same subject:

 

Demand for a “Western” Education around the World

Increased demand for a “western” education around the world has reshaped whom these institutions serve, by Alan Wechsler in The Atlantic of June 5, 2017.
Wikipedia defines an international school as a school that promotes international education, in an . . . .

Increased demand for a “western” education around the world has reshaped whom these institutions serve, by Alan Wechsler in The Atlantic of June 5, 2017.
Wikipedia defines an international school as a school that promotes international education, in an international environment, either by adopting a curriculum such as that of the International Baccalaureate, Edexcel or Cambridge International Examinations, or by following a national curriculum different from that of the school’s country . . . .
Demand for a “Western” education around the world

The International-School Surge

After losing two jobs in the Denver area due to budget cuts, the school librarian Jennifer Alevy found a new direction for her education career in 2011: an international school in Kathmandu, Nepal.

The origins of today’s international schools can be traced to 1924, but they’ve grown exponentially in the past 20 years. Originally created to ensure that expatriates and diplomats could get a “western” education for their children while working in far-flung countries, international schools have found a new purpose: educating the children of wealthy locals so those kids can compete for spots in western colleges—and, eventually, positions at multinational companies.

This dramatic change means increased opportunities for American teachers abroad—and, potentially, increased competition in the U.S. from a new demographic of English-fluent and cosmopolitan young people from all over the world.

Today, Alevy is the coordinator of library services at the American International School in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, which caters to Vietnamese students. The school, which was founded in 2006, has devoted resources to its library that Alevy rarely saw back in the states. “I feel fortunate that the school I work in has seen the value in the library and librarians,” she said. “I am really excited for the opportunity to work with three other librarians. I have not had that chance in a long time.”

Across the world, teachers educated in America, Great Britain, Australia, and other English-speaking countries are being imported in droves to teach the kids of wealthy or even middle-class families of emerging nations in Asia, the Middle East, and other developing regions.

“The majority of the world wants a grounding in English,” said Bruce McWilliams, the executive vice president of International School Services, a New Jersey-based company that recruits teachers for international jobs.

The growth of international schools is staggering. Twenty years ago, there were only about 1,000 English-language international schools worldwide, according to the U.K.-based ISC Research. Most of the students in these schools were the kids of expat families working abroad—diplomats, journalists, NGO staff, technicians, and mid-level corporate types.

Today, there are more than 8,000 international schools, serving 4.5 million students with 420,000 teachers. And 80 percent of students are actually from the school’s host country. And, according to ISC, demand is rising—in the next 10 years, experts expect the number of international schools to double to more than 16,000 schools and 8.75 million students worldwide.

“I wanted my kids to be Chinese, to know who they are, but to learn with a global perspective.”

Mitsuko Sakakibara of Japan is a typical parent. Her son Leon, 8, attends the Hokkaido International School in Niseko. “I would like my son to have an international environment education to build his mind as a global citizen from a young age,” she said, explaining she didn’t think he would get that in a Japanese school. “English would be the basic tool to communicate smoothly … and also help to have more choice to decide where to study or work.”

The United Arab Emirates and China now have the most international schools—about 550 English-speaking schools in each, according to ISC—but places as India, Vietnam, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia are also seeing huge increases. More than 20 cities in the world have at least 50 English-speaking international schools each, such as Dubai (which has more than 250) and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates; Beijing; Shanghai; Bangkok; Tokyo; Singapore; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; and Madrid.

The average annual tuition for these schools varies by country—in Bangladesh, it’s $5,200; in Singapore, it’s $18,500. In places like China or India, the tuition is often higher than what the average family in that country earns in a year, making the schools available only to the wealthy.

Recognizing this changing demographic, schools are finding new ways to meet growing demand—and get around rules in some countries that limit the schools local students can attend. Take the Elite K-12 Education Group, which began in Ningbo—located on the coast near Shanghai—and is expanding to Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu, and other big Chinese cities. The school, which models itself after the British education system, offers an international bilingual program for Chinese nationals. Its local ownership allows local students to attend despite government rules which restrict Chinese nationals from attending internationally owned schools.

“I wanted my kids to be Chinese, to know who they are, but to learn with a global perspective and to be fully prepared for western university,” said Tao Sun, the chairman of the organization. “If you want your child to have many options for world-class universities, and if you want them to survive, thrive, and succeed there, then they need to start learning and speaking English as soon as they can.”

Look at some of the 8,000 international schools around the world, and it’s easy to see the appeal. In Dubai, the Safa Community School offers “clustered” classrooms with a common area that is “like a big sitting room for the community, where you can study at the ‘kitchen table,’ play a board game on the floor, film an action scene, bake some cookies, or sit on a bean bag with a laptop,” according to the school’s Facebook page. Down the road, the GEMS Nations Academy has classes in robotics and coding in a partnership with Carnegie Mellon University.

Michael E. DeBakey High School in Doha, Qatar, offers a focus on STEM training for professions in the medical field, while Cranleigh Abu Dhabi students are developing their own opera. Meanwhile, at the Nansha College Preparatory Academy in Guangzhou, China, content and English language teachers work together to plan and deliver lessons. That means that even in physics class, students’ English skills are constantly being tested.

Compare these approaches to a typical public school in many developing countries, where it is not uncommon to have more than 40 students in a class. In schools like that, the focus is on rote memorization and lectures, with little emphasis on student participation, according to international-school representatives. Of course, the children of many poor families in developing countries are often unable to attend school at all, because of cultural issues, the need to help out at home or earn money for the family, or the inability to afford school fees or uniforms. According to a UNICEF, more than 59 million children of primary-school age were out of school in 2013.

Plenty of international schools continue to cater to the expatriate family. With globalization, more people than ever are choosing to work abroad. This has led to a new euphemism: “Third Culture Kids,” or TCK. Picture a whole generation of, say, American kids who carry U.S. passports but have barely spent any time living in their home country.

“It’s all interrelated—this whole notion of free markets, global economy. Education has to meet that need,” said Cynthia Nagrath, the marketing and communication manager at The International Educator, a teacher-placement service based in Massachusetts. “People have to work together with students of different cultures,” she said. “That’s the beauty of these international schools. You’ve got students from all over the world, but they all learn together in English.”

For more, see the original document . . .
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