MENA Startup Talent Shortage? Or Haven't Found the Right Role?

By Farida Khalil / MAGNiTT Staff

The MENA region is facing the highest youth unemployment rates worldwide, according to the International Labour Association. It has reached a plato at 30 percent during the past four years. Since then, startups have offered a mild recovery by acting as an engine in driving job creation for youth in the Middle East and North Africa. Startups like Careem alone created over 500,000 jobs since its founding. Still, the challenge of finding qualified talent in the MENA region remains to be a prominent issue amongst tech-reliant companies, specifically in the area of technology development.


For startups, getting the right people on board, and keeping them, is essential for growing successful and innovative businesses. However, along with prioritizing other aspects of the company such as new ideas and budget planning, talent acquisition can be more difficult and time consuming. Founder and CEO of the Friendture app, Rola Fayyad, notes, “As a tech startup, our main challenge is finding the right talent with commitment and passion towards our vision. Especially at early stages with limited funding. I encountered many applicants who were only focused on the paycheck, and it was always hard to recruit them competing SMEs and corporates offer better salaries, job security, social security and other benefits.”


Startups aim to handpick individuals who are experts in their field and can take on several tasks at a time. “The word 'Can't' is not allowed, everything has a solution, and we hire problem solvers who can break barriers, especially technical,” says Rola, pointing to “lack of commitment and problem solving skills” as killers to the work environment at startups.


Although the benefits of working at a startup differ from those of working at an SME, working at a startup provides the experience and skill-sets to start one yourself. Philip Bahoshy, MAGNiTT’s founder, notes, “Based on our research, which looked at regional data against international benchmarks, we found that founders of successfully funded startups tend to have had several years of experience in both corporate and startup environments before starting their own venture.” MAGNiTT’s research on the founders of MENA’s top 100 funded startups identified that 35% of founders were found to previously have had startup experiences in the region with Yahoo Maktoob, Dubizzle, Bayt and Zawya alumni making up 8% of the top 100 MENA startup founders.


For the full report on #MENAFounders visit our research at the following link HERE


The days of circling job openings on newspapers are long gone. Nowadays, searching for and applying to a career opportunity is a click away. Virtually, members of the MAGNiTT community are able to post their job listings on MAGNiTT’s job board for free, making it accessible for startup job seekers all around the MENA region. The MAGNiTT job board serves as a dedicated platform focused on startup roles. It seeks to act as a connecting bridge between talented job seekers and rising startups. In 2017, 220 jobs were listed on MAGNiTT’s job board and 2,100 applications were submitted. MAGNiTT continues to  actively promote these opportunities to the ecosystem, raising awareness across all social media channels.


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Amongst the options provided to startups are interns, who Rola views to be essential in all startups, “Interns will most likely question the standard process, and bring in new and fresh ideas to change it to a more effective way,” she says. Although they are less experienced, Rola believes that their presence is useful for tech reliant startups, “They are very tech savvy and that assists a lot with daily tasks related to digital marketing or development of our product,” she says,  “My tech lead Zaid Erikat, started as an intern in May 2017, and today, he leads the mobile team and is an equity holder,” she adds.


According to MAGNiTT’s research, when starting their company, 40% of founders were between the ages of 26-30, 28% are 31-35 years old and the rest of the startups were founded by people aged 35 and above. So, for fresh graduates looking for their first job, for freelancers hunting for their next project or for  long-time experienced employees looking to dive in to the startup world, MAGNiTT’s job board caters to their specific professional career needs.


Prominent startups with job listings on MAGNiTT include, but are not limited to, Careem, Vezeeta and Bayzat. Other job listings on MAGNiTT’s job board include opportunities from newly founded startups seeking to employ talent in their early stages such as Trukkin,, and Taddrees.  


Other job boards in the MENA region include Oliv, which specializes in intern recruitment and entry level jobs, and Wuzzuf, which aids in job hunting with a particular focus on Egypt and the Middle East. Although all 127 job opportunities listed on MAGNiTT’s job board are available for viewing by the public, only registered members can apply for the jobs.


Scroll through MAGNiTT’s job board, apply and keep tabs on your application!


For the full report on #MENAFounders visit our research at the following link HERE


To visit MAGNiTT’s job board click on the link HERE


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