In the ever-evolving landscape of the Gulf’s IT sector, few topics garner as much attention as staff augmentation. This approach to staffing, a strategic method to bridge skills and talent gaps in projects, has witnessed a robust surge in the Gulf region. Among those leading the conversation on this critical paradigm is TalentNations, a global B2B marketplace on IT staff augmentation and IT solutions promotion.
Staff augmentation in the Gulf has transitioned from a conceptual discussion to a fundamental business strategy. Businesses are rapidly realising that to stay competitive, they must have access to the best talent – whether on-premise or from another part of the world.
In recent years, the Gulf region has witnessed a paradigm shift in workforce dynamics. Organisations are increasingly veering away from traditional employment models, leaning towards more flexible, skill-specific hiring practices. Staff augmentation has emerged as a practical solution, enabling companies to tap into a global talent pool, precisely when and where needed. This model is not just a stop-gap; it’s a strategic choice for businesses looking to stay agile and competitive.
Staff augmentation in the Gulf is gaining power; it’s a response to the unique challenges and opportunities in the region. The rapid economic growth, coupled with an aggressive push towards digitisation, has formed a highly competitive market. Providers need to offer the best in terms of price, quality and time, that is, the level of professionalism of specialists. At the same time, after Covid-19, everyone has learned to work with remote teams, also known as offshore. These two factors make staff augmentation appealing.
Explaining to clients how staff augmentation and offshore resources can save at least 30 per cent of their IT budget, without compromising on quality and delivery speed, often leads them to reevaluate their staffing plans and engage in detailed discussions about these options.
In terms of business size, both small and large enterprises appear to be the seekers of augmentation, as this is efficient model to stay agile and to keep IT projects sustainable, often driven by a need for expertise without the long-term commitment of a full-time hire. When dissecting by business segment, the digital sector stands out.
Remote work preferences differ based on tasks and roles. Certain roles, especially those requiring intricate teamwork or sensitive data handling, might still favor onsite presence. Yet, the overarching trend leans towards a blend, balancing remote and onsite modalities. On the language front, proficiency in English is paramount, followed by Arabic, as a plus.
There is a particular interest in specialists in fields like artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. The businesses, regardless of their size, are looking for individuals who can contribute to their growth trajectory, bringing in a wealth of knowledge and expertise.
Leadership and Talent Demand: There is a noticeable trend of leaders from specific regions actively seeking specialists. For instance, companies from CIS countries, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Turkey have shown a keen interest in providing top-notch professionals through the TalentNations platform.
Specialist Roles in High Demand: The demand is particularly high for roles of AWS and Microsoft Cloud experts, DevOps, Developers (MERN, Full Stack, eJava, Python, Realty, Ruby on Rails), Oracle, Salesforce, SAP specialists, Business Analysts and Project managers.
Engagement from the C-Suite: The inquiries and interest predominantly come from the upper echelons of the corporate world, including Founders, CEOs, CDOs, CTOs, CCOs, COOs, Account & Sales Managers, underlining the strategic importance of staff augmentation.
Business Size and Attraction: Large to small enterprises, also start-ups, are the primary seekers of augmented staffing solutions.
Financial Expectations: Businesses anticipate an average rate of $20-40 per hour (or $3-6K per month) for augmented staff, highlighting the willingness to invest in quality talent. We also observe that for niche and specialized roles in short supply within the region, companies are willing to pay rates of $50-60 per hour ($8-10K per month).
Balancing Remote and Onsite Work: While the tech sector is more open to remote engagements, other sectors like Gov, Energy, Finance, Retail, Telco, Trading, Manufacturing, Media & Advertising, and Wellness also increasingly use the service. However, a balance is sought, depending on the nature of the work and the required skills.
Diverse Talent and Language Proficiency: Employers are looking beyond borders, seeking talent from various nations. English proficiency is a must, knowledge of Arabic is a big plus.
Navigating Challenges: The journey is not without its hurdles. Clients have shared experiences of being misled about the proficiency levels of potential hires, emphasising the need for transparency and due diligence in the staff augmentation process.
The future of work in the Gulf is undeniably leaning towards more remote and flexible models. Staff augmentation plays a critical role in this transition, offering businesses the agility and access to global talent that they need to thrive. Resource sharing, including cars, computing power, and talent, has transitioned from a trend to a standard practice. The ability to quickly acquire and release top talent on the best prices is an integral part of a modern company growth strategy.
(The author is a partner and IT expert at TalentNations)