Study by global firm Mercer sought to identify ways of meeting employee needs.
What matters most to Kenyans living and working in Nairobi is access to employer-subsidised healthcare and wellness programmes, according to a report by global consulting firm Mercer.
This is a departure from last year’s report by the same firm that cited affordable housing as the priority, followed by safety and security, air and water quality, transportation and traffic, and finally life satisfaction.
The firm, which presented its findings at an event in Nairobi, met with thought leaders to talk about ways of capitalising on the growth of emerging megacities in Africa.
Nairobi is one of the fastest-growing cities in Africa, with a high youth population that forms the majority of the workforce.
Thus, it is important for companies and multinationals in megacities to focus on ways to accelerate talent strategies while meeting the needs of workers.
“Not only is it important for employers to promote the transformation by implementing measures that will make an impact and change the mindset, there is also a need to lead multi-stakeholder efforts to address pain points at scale,” said Deon de Swardt, principal consultant at Mercer.
Some of the other highlights of the dialogue centred on guiding principles for rethinking the workforce of the future and how this is critical in building a more sustainable business.
While commenting on the role of artificial intelligence in securing economic opportunities and growth, Pearly Siffel, Strategy, Geographic Expansion Leader International at Mercer explained that while technology is important, “putting people first will better enable organisations to succeed.”
The People First Emerging Megacities report examines the needs of workers in the world’s fastest-growing cities across four key factors - human, health, money and work.
The study also gives critical insight into the motivations of workers against the backdrop of fierce competition for highly-skilled talent.
Employers believe workers prioritise money and other work-related factors when deciding whether to switch cities.
But this is not the case. Most important to workers are the human and social factors essential to the quality of life, according to Mercer.
These include overall life satisfaction, security and safety, and proximity to family and friends. Although workers do rank total income as third, it is the only money factor in the top five.
The study found that having employer-subsidised health and wellness programmes was very important for 89 per cent of workers in Nairobi, while 67 per cent of respondents also ranked security and safety as the top reason to stay in or leave their city.
Although the study’s 15 current and future megacities share some commonalities, some key differences were revealed.
Based on performance against the four pillars mentioned above, the cities were grouped into advanced, progressing or approaching in terms of whether they meet workers’ expectations.
Advanced cities score well in all four factors, with a small-to-medium gap between workers’ expectations and the city’s performance.
Overall, employers believe career and work opportunities, work satisfaction, and pay and bonuses are the most important to their workforce.
But even though these elements may be important to attract and keep workers, businesses must also tailor their solutions, approaches and communications to the individual needs of each group to ensure they feel empathetically understood.
For instance, white-collar professionals and graduates are particularly interested in career advice and thrive on interventions like talent assessments.
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