As engineering and manufacturing companies in the Middle East move towards technology-led operational processes, employers are seeking professionals with the right skills to drive successful transformation and boost the bottomline. These skills include:

1.    Lean Manufacturing

Maximising efficiency and minimising waste are key focuses for businesses looking to increase their profit margins. “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the manufacturing industry has been forced to reconsider the efficiency of their production processes, not only through digitization, but companies are also looking at how best to utilize their machineries more effectively to replace manpower”, says Zeina Karrit (Business Manager, Engineering – Michael Page). When it comes to professionals, companies are seeking employees who can systematically drive value, reduce wastage costs, and improve manufacturing processes. In particular, experience with lean methodologies, such as Six Sigma Black Belt, are highly sought after.

2.    Change and Transformation Management

As technology reshapes the sector, businesses are looking for change-driven and skilled strategic decision-makers who can help shift direction through innovation, uptake of new technologies and agile work processes. 

3.    Product Development

While brands vie to be first to market with innovative new products and increase market share on existing products, demand is high for talent with new product development expertise – particularly among food and beverage companies. Karrit shares, “The Middle East consumers are being introduced to several new products in the market, birthed from trends during the pandemic, such as baking, healthy foods, ready-to-eat, to name some.”

4.    Process Design

In light of technological advancements and industry-wide process automation, there is a need for businesses to manage processes more efficiently than ever. As such, companies are looking for professionals with the skills to design processes that increase output and lower production costs. 

5.    Adaptability

In a rapidly changing environment, the ability to adapt to new situations, projects and ways of working is critical. Demonstrating you can easily switch focus when required will help prove long-term value to prospective employers. Karrit adds, “We have seen several professionals being made redundant due to a lack of adaptability as a key skill.”

6.    Democratic Leadership Approach

Top-down management is out of fashion. Instead, both in the engineering & manufacturing sector and in other sectors, there is a need for a more democratic form of leadership that is better aligned with the new generation of employees. They feel more comfortable with a more participative way of working. Companies also benefit from that, because employees can come up with ideas that management has not thought of. The best specialists are therefore not necessarily the managers anymore. Companies are increasingly abandoning that principle. Of course, professional knowledge is required, but good personal skills are just as important for managing a team. “Additionally, due to the economic and financial challenges arising from the global pandemic, leaders now are under a heavy pressure to motivate their people and to increase their productivity without increasing headcount”, says Karrit. 

7.    Accountability

In engineering and manufacturing, it is essential that production schedules are adhered to so that deadlines and expectations from colleagues, stakeholders, and customers, are met. If no one is accountable for any part of a process, it can lead to a loss of revenue. Having a clear understanding of what accountability means and demonstrating it, whether through areas of quality ethics, regulatory standards, leads to a better controlled process.

8.    Customer-led/centric design

Zeina Karrit says, “Consumers have demonstrated decreased brand/product loyalty in the post pandemic market, perhaps due to factors such as lowered purchasing power and job insecurity. Hence, companies are ramping up their customer focus in order to attract new customers and retain their market share.”

Michael Page Engineering & Manufacturing is our specialist division dedicated to the recruitment of engineering and manufacturing professionals across all industries including Aerospace, Automotive, Chemical Industry, Construction, FMCG, Food Industry, Oil & Gas, Steel Industry and Transport. Request a call back if your business needs hiring support.  

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