Price Waterhouse Coopers: Hiring Candidates

Executive Summary

Companies in the United Arab Emirates face numerous challenges in choosing and hiring staff. This is because of the shortage of skilled domestic labour and the bureaucracy of hiring expatriates. The report will focus on most fundamental human resources systems involved in choosing and hiring staff. The paper will explore the conceptual and theoretical basis of the above systems and their impact on the organization. This will include the benefits and challenges they pose to the organization. Finally, the report will conduct a case study analysis of the Price Waterhouse Coopers to probe a real life business example influenced by the above HR systems.

Introduction

Overview

Human resource (HR) can be defined as an individual’s contribution to the organization in terms of efforts, skills and capabilities. On the other hand, human resource management (HRM) is the division of an organization that deals with the management of personnel (Dessler, 2008, p. 4). HRM can be viewed in two diverse ways. First, as support function in an organization. They provide backing to the personnel issues to keep workers in line. Second, HRM can be viewed as a hierarchical function. Whether in the formal or informal sector, the management of employees is always a function of the managers (Sokun, 2004, p. 7).

Human resource management in all its forms in the past and present has always emphasized on the management of people in the organization. Unlike other resources, human resource is far more composite and changing and has evolved considerably over the last decade. At the present, Human resource management emphasizes on building competitive advantage through the strategic use of contemporary HRM techniques to develop capable and committed workforce (Lawler & Mohrman, 2003, p. 16).

Numerous characterization of HR is aimed to sum up the view of the present companies subscribing to the idea of people being one of their most significant possessions (Sokun, 2004, p. 10). To make sure that organizations acquires the right personnel at the right time, Human resources systems, for instance, Human resource planning, recruitment and selection must be employed. Successful execution of these systems guarantees acquisition of the right kind of personnel (York, 2009, p. 39).

Report Purpose

The report will focus on the most fundamental human resources systems involved in choosing and hiring new candidates, that is, human resource planning, recruitment and selection. The paper will also explore the conceptual and theoretical basis of the above systems and their impact on the organization. This will include the benefits and challenges they pose to the organization. Last but not least, the report will carry out a case study analysis in one of the companies in the UAE to probe a real life business example influenced by the above HR systems.

Choosing and Hiring

Choosing and hiring of new personnel involve three fundamental human resources systems: planning, recruitment and selection. HR planning is a process of coming up with strategies to manage the aspects and competencies of personnel to match the organizational goals and objectives. On the other hand, recruitment refers to the process of identifying potential candidates and persuading them to apply for the current or foreseeable position. Last but not least, selection is the process of picking qualified and competent candidates from a pool of new applicants (York, 2009, p. 40). According to York (2009, p. 43), organizations can consciously and practically determine the composition of the personnel needed to realize strategic goals by ensuring that the recruitment and selection practices match with the existing policies and programs.

Due to the increase in environmental volatility, demographic changes and high level of competition, organizations are obligated to transform their human resources planning. Human resource planning involves preparation of an inventory of the existing workforce and identifying the current gap, identifying present and future personnel requirements, and satisfying the requirements. However, with the current scarcity of competent labour, the shortage of real talent and the rising employee’s requirement, achieving this objective has become very difficult (Gully & Phillips, 2009, P. 20).

Employer brand theory has often been used as a concept in talent identification. It should be noted that this theory also strengthens a company’s capacity to keep hold of its talent. According to this theory, in order to attract the best talent with limited resources, an organization must be as striking and hospitable as possible. Therefore, the company needs to have the attractiveness to lure candidates that can give it a more competitive edge over its rivals and provide them with an apparent view of the competencies that are vital and the values they can identify with (Backhous & Surinder, 2004, p. 501).

The first step in locating key individuals in the organization depends on the company’s ability to determine the profiles that match with the organization’s culture and requirements. This enables the company to equate candidates’ background, job experience and individual qualities to develop an excellent organizational fit. In addition, it is improbable that all key individuals would come from the company or are out of work (Backhous & Surinder, 2004, p. 509). According to Dessler (2008, p. 22), search for external talents should not only focus on well established professionals, but also the upcoming talents.

The recruitment process is very costly. Therefore, companies should strive to minimise the workers’ turnover rate. One of the noted failures related to the recruitment process is recruitment based on qualifications, which is regarded by some experts as a poor performance predictor (York, 2009, p. 78). According to York (2009, p. 78), a superior recipe for successful recruitment is hiring based on competencies, which is a fundamental aspect of strategic staffing. Dessler (2008, p. 107) explains that it is easier to hire a squirrel to climb a tree than teach a turkey. He used this phrase to describe competence- based recruitment practices. In other words, organizations should hire based on individual traits and characteristics that are hard to be taught or changed.

The Selection process involves both the applicants and the company and therefore is a dual process. At this level the company normally seeks for a balance between the excellent academic qualifications and evidence of the required skills and competence (York 12). Scorecard approach is nowadays recommended for companies as a means of appraising their candidates. Generally, the approach is used for performance appraisal for already recruited employees. However, some experts recommend it for the selection process. The scorecard approach offers both qualitative and quantitative measurements and supply very important information.

Staffing in UAE

Employment relations in the United Arab Emirates are guided by the Federal Act No. 8 of 1980. The act is pretty based on the ILO model. The law governs nearly all the aspects of personnel management. The law offers the first right of employment to the citizens. Noncitizens may be hired with requisite approval from the relevant authorities (PWC, 2013, p. 13).

Human capital is one of the major challenges for companies based in the UAE. The labour laws limit the number of expatriates that can be hired. In addition, the country produces a relatively low number of skilled and competent. Moreover, their expertise does not match the requirements of the industry. Therefore, many of them have resorted to hiring expatriates, regardless of numerous challenges associated with hiring foreigners (Rashid, 2007, p. 20).

The cost of hiring skilled labour in the UAE is also very expensive. The high cost of skilled labour is attributed to high demand for labour in the country and the scarcity of skilled and competent domestic labour. The high demand for skilled labour has also led to escalation in wages. Companies have been forced to introduce higher remunerative packages to attract highly skilled and competent workers (Rashid, 2007, p. 22). In addition, the rising wages are also attributed to the increasing cost of housing and cost of living. For the above reasons, most companies in the UAE have resorted to cost-cutting measures to reduce their wage bill and cost of staffing. The measures include hiring fresh graduates. Other measures include hiring expatriates from less developed economies who have less wage demand (Rashid, 2007, p. 22).

A Case Study: Price Waterhouse Coopers in Abu Dhabi

The company’s background

PwC is one of the leading firms offering corporate services in the UAE. The company has four main offices based in Abu Dhabi, Dubai (two offices) and Sharja. With over 80 professional monitors across its main offices, PwC has carried out numerous visits to industrial units as part of their public compliance conformity screening service. In addition to the worker’s profound knowledge of the local environment, they also have far-reaching experience in working with petroleum and gas companies (Sokun, 2004, p. 5)..

PwC also has a thorough understanding of the country’s policies and regulations encompassing investment, taxation, accountancy and consultancy. The quality of PwC’s services conforms to the standards set by its parent company. Some of the services offered by PwC include assurance and industrial advisory services, business and technological solutions, taxation and legal services, human resource services, and corporate finance services (Sokun, 2004, p. 6).

Staffing in PwC

Staffing activities in PwC have generally been implemented as follows:

Recruitment

Due to shortage of skilled domestic labour and challenges of hiring expatriates, PwC normally target fresh graduates. The company organizes or participates in job fairs where the university graduates meet the company one on one and gain more knowledge about PwC. At these events, the concerned graduates can attend the company’s presentation, get hold of the brochures and interact directly with the staff. The company’s yearly presentation has almost become a norm. It provides the company with an opportunity to meet potential candidates individually (Sokun, 2004, p. 12).

During the presentations, the candidates are made aware of the company’s drive and individual preferences. PwC normally considers the following during the recruitment process: general business knowledge, excellent interpersonal and communication skills, novelty, flexibility, capability to work under pressure, a good team player, passion and desire for success, good English, commitment to career development, and superb academic qualification. PwC also adds a list of accepted behaviours to the above qualifications. They include accountability, entrepreneurship and sharing (Sokun, 2004, p. 13).

Individual skills are also evaluated in accordance with the job demands. If the candidates’ competencies and expertise match the company’s requirements, he/she is called for further interview with the HR experts and departmental heads. In cases where applications are received when there are no vacancies in the organization, the resume is saved in the company’s database so as to be reviewed when vacancies arise (Sokun, 2004, p. 15).

Selection

Selection involves both the applicants and the company and therefore is a dual process. The company makes sure that candidates have full information in order to make an informed career decision. PwC normally achieves this by arranging informal and formal meetings and interviews between the staff and the applicants. Generally, the company selects candidates through the following stages. The first stage entails review of the application form. At this level the company looks for a balance between the excellent academic qualifications and evidence of the above mentioned skills and expected behaviour (Sokun, 2004, p. 18).

The second stage involves the English test. Most of the company’s business is conducted in English. Therefore, English is a fundamental requirement. The third stage involves visiting an assessment centre. The aim of these centres is to evaluate the applicants’ aptness for a position as a graduate associate by assessing them based on various proficiencies pertinent to the company’s work environment. An assessment centre provides candidates with an opportunity to demonstrate their skills practically (Sokun, 2004, p. 18).

The fourth stage entails an interview with the line managers and office tour. The candidates also have an opportunity to meet other staff members. Subsequently, the candidates that have passed this stage proceed to another interview with one of the PwC’s top managers. This objective of this interview is to establish the candidates’ potential for the job sought. Some of the qualities evaluated here include teamwork, management, zeal, communication and presentation. This is because the company requires more than just technical skills (Sokun, 2004, p. 19).

This is the stage where the candidates are expected to state areas within the company that they are interested in. The applicants also get a chance to mingle with other candidates. The next stage is the last interview. The last interview gives the company an opportunity to clarify any pending matters. Similarly, it provides the candidate with an opportunity to raise any outstanding issues. Finally, the sixth and the last stage is employment offer. An employment offer is only issued to successful candidates (Sokun, 2004, p. 18).

Conclusion

Companies in the United Arab Emirates face numerous challenges in choosing and hiring staff. This is because of the shortage of skilled domestic labour and the bureaucracy of hiring expatriates. As a result, many companies have resorted to cost-cutting measures to reduce their wage bill and cost of staffing. The measures include hiring fresh graduates and developing them to meet industry demands. Other measures include hiring expatriates from less developed economies who have less wage demand. Due to the above challenges, Price Waterhouse Coopers also targets fresh graduates who go through a rigorous process to corroborate their competency and academic qualifications. The above challenges call for the UAE government to amend the current labour laws and educational policies to enable cheap acquisition of expatriates and to avail adequate skilled manpower in the market.

References

Backhous, K., & Surinder, T. (2004). Conceptualizing and researching employer branding. Career Development International, 9 (5), 501-517. Web.

Dessler, G. (2008). Human resource management. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs. Web.

Gully, S.M., & Phillips, J.M. (2009). Strategic Staffing. London: Pearson. Web.

Lawler, E., & Mohrman, S. (2003). HR as a strategic partner: What does it take to make it happen? Human Resource Planning, 26 (3), 15-29. Web.

PWC. (2013). Doing Business in United Arab Emirates. Dubai: PwC and HSBC. Web.

Rashid, M. (2007). Arab Human Capital Challenge: The Voices of CEOs-PwC. Dubai: Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation. Web.

Sokun, N. (2004). Human Resource Management of Price Waterhouse Coopers. Phnom Penh, Cambodia: National University of Management. Web.

York, K. (2009). Applied Resource Management: Strategic Issues and Experiential Exercise. New York: Sage Publications, Inc. Web.