Poor job descriptions damaging staff retention in Egypt

By John O'Hanlon

Latest research from global management consultancy, Hay Group, reveals that a poor job description is one of the principal drivers of staff turnover in companies of all sizes in Egypt.

The research shows that not being a good fit for the role and the job description misleading an employee’s expectations are the most important reasons employees leave organisations, behind salary expectations.

On average, over a third of companies in Egypt experience staff turnover rates of more than 21 percent. This comes at a considerable cost to business in the region, with the research showing that staff turnover costs businesses an average of 990,366 Egyptian pounds (US $130,020). This compares to $189,343 in the UK, $155,261 in the US and $198,953 in Australia.  

HR Managers throughout the country believe this turnover is often due to a more competitive salary being offered elsewhere (48 percent). However, unlike, the UK, US and Australia, the second most important reason is the wrong person being chosen in the first place due to a poor job description (41 percent).

Crucially, 40 percent of HR Managers in Egypt (compared to 25 percent globally) say their managers do not understand the competencies required for their team and are unable to articulate the correct needs into a set of responsibilities for a role. This is especially apparent in the Legal sector (80 percent), travel and transport sector (63 percent) and the retail, catering and leisure sectors (58 percent).

Nearly half (48 percent) believe that poor job descriptions lead HR Managers to waste a considerable amount of time interviewing irrelevant candidates and 34 percent believe that poor job descriptions lead to poor consistency and quality across the entire business (compared to 45 percent globally).

Sixty two percent of HR Managers in Egypt believe that good job descriptions lead to a better quality candidate pool. However, 59 percent believe that getting a high quality job description from managers is a time consuming process, compared to 69 percent globally.

Iain Fitzpatrick, VP at Hay Group, comments: “Get job descriptions wrong and you’ll recruit the wrong people, demotivating the team and increasing staff turnover, leading to underperformance. Get them right and you can attract the best candidates, who know what to expect from the role and how to make an impact. A great team starts with great job descriptions.”

“Every company has the ability to improve employee retention by getting its job descriptions right. But job descriptions aren’t in most managers’ job descriptions. This leads to them producing versions that are mismatched from the rest of the business or avoiding doing them altogether, overloading HR managers’ already hectic schedules.

“Giving managers the tools they need, such as Hay Group’s Job Description web app, ensures that HR can empower line managers to create the right job descriptions, whilst keeping control. This not only speeds up the process but means managers, and the business, are using tried and tested information gained from Hay Group’s competency modelling and job evaluations work with over 12,000 companies worldwide.”

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