The Middle East needs to do more to attract international talent as the region is among those that are losing the reputational battle in the global war for talent according to Hill & Knowlton's eighth annual Corporate Reputation Watch study.
The survey conducted by Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates for Hill & Knowlton at 12 top ranked international business schools in the US, Europe and Asia shows that despite booming economies, soaring foreign direct investment and high oil prices the Middle East is still among a group of key emerging markets whose reputations have yet to attract the best global talent.
The study found that, based on what they have read or heard about the Middle East, only 20 per cent of students in the world's MBA schools say they are interested in working in the region, compared with 57 per cent who say they are not interested in working here.
However, European students are relatively more interested in working in the Middle East (32 per cent versus 20 per cent overall).
Students in European business schools view the UAE, and Dubai in particular, as more attractive than their peers in other parts of the world (40 per cent versus 30 per cent).
"This is a critical issue. Today's MBA students will be among the corporate leaders of the next 15 to 20 years. In order to join the ranks of the top global companies it is vital that organisations in the Middle East have the ability to attract the world's best management talent," said Dave Robinson, CEO, Hill & Knowlton Middle East.
Interestingly, an overwhelming percentage of students are not interested in working in multi-billion dollar industries dealing in alcohol, chemicals and tobacco.
The pharmaceutical and oil and gas industries are also in a similar situation.