Tuesday 10, October 2017 by William Mullally

Talent acquisition and corporate governance priority areas for region’s family-owned businesses




Stiff competition among family businesses to attract the most suitable talent continues to be a crucial challenge that constrains organisational growth in the Middle East, according to business leaders and industry experts present at the two-day Middle East & South Asia (MESA) Family Business Conference organised by KPMG.

Themed ‘Leadership in Family Business’, the third edition of the event witnessed constructive dialogue among leaders from family-owned businesses, as they turned the spotlight on key opportunities and challenges currently faced by their businesses. These include increased competition amid economic and political uncertainties as well as suitable talent recruitment.

At the conference, KPMG released the preliminary findings of its Annual MESA Family Business survey. The latter revealed that only 43 per cent of regional family businesses reported a rise in revenue in 2016. Nevertheless, they remain optimistic about their organisation’s future with 64 per cent of respondents expressing a positive outlook for longer-term growth.

Presenting the findings, Harish Gopinath, Partner and Head of Family Business & Enterprise covering KPMG Middle East and South Asia, said, “Family businesses are undoubtedly coping with leaner economic times yet they recognise that it is not enough to only focus on growth. prioritising governance and succession planning are also critical to shaping the future of their business. In our increasingly connected world, our survey shows that business leaders are looking to capitalise on opportunities, such as technology advancement and globalisation.”

The conference, which brought together a high profile panel of speakers, served as a platform to discuss and assess the advantageous position enjoyed by family businesses that are increasingly making significant progress in succession planning, diversity, training and development, among others.

Vikas Papriwal, Head of Markets of KPMG in UAE and Oman also added “I think it is very likely that we will see significant organic growth in the region’s family businesses over the next few years. There is also likely to be an increasing level of participation by women in key decision making positions. We are seeing more women taking active and visible roles in family businesses. Such a trend will ultimately improve diversity and expand the business’ talent pool whilst fostering family cohesion, which is a very positive development.”

A detailed report summarising the findings of the MESA Family Business Survey will be made available in November 2017.

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