Beating the talent crunch with ready-to-hire professionals from Palestine – News

TAP emerges as a formidable choice for tech companies aiming to fortify their competitive edge through diversity

Manwa Rabaya

Published: Fri 1 Sep 2023, 7:24 PM

Leading tech voices and industry thought leaders are raving: 2023 might well become one of the most transformative years in the tech industry to date. AI, machine learning and automation are at the tip of everyone’s tongues, and set to transform the way we live and work. But there is one tech trend that is getting less attention than it deserves, but which might also come to define this bold new age: the talent crunch.

From tech giants like Meta and Google to start-ups new to the game, tech companies are struggling to find, hire and retain skilled professionals. Experts expect demand for software engineers and developers to outstrip supply until at least 2026, with companies increasingly turning away from traditional and unproductive hiring routes and looking elsewhere for the talent they need to take on the newest trends in tech land.

In this changing and challenging landscape, a different way of recruiting is emerging. Start-up Talent Acceleration Platform (TAP) is rewriting the rules of employee acquisition and helping tech companies worldwide tap into a talented pool of young tech professionals in an under-appreciated corner of the Middle Eastern tech scene: Palestine.

The Rise of Palestinian Tech Excellence

MENA tech leader, Ejada, has injected new vitality into its ranks through its service agreement with pioneering Palestinian enterprise, Tech 360, and a unique conduit — the TAP pipeline.

Manwa Rabaya, Ra’fat Ahmad, Noor Asmar, and Shaymaa Hassoun have seamlessly integrated as front and backend software engineers at Tech 360. These four young tech talents live and work in Palestine, and are recent graduates from a 12-week software development upskilling course run by the Palestinian-Dutch start-up TAP, which has offices in Amsterdam (the Netherlands) and Nablus (West Bank, Palestine).

For Hasan Afifi, general manager at Tech 360 and Ejada Jordan, they were the perfect match for his company. “Our focus has always been to foster young talent in the tech industry, and TAP’s highly motivated graduates have become an essential part of our team.”

Christan Vejzak, CEO of TAP, explains more about his start-up’s mission: “We’re transforming the tech industry by upskilling Palestinian graduates and propelling them toward exceptional remote jobs in Palestine. Our 2022 Web Development cohort was particularly successful. 97 per cent of the 30-strong cohort finished the course; and almost 80 per cent have now found a job with tech companies around the world.”

In addition to the web development course, TAP has upskilled three separate cohorts in Business development and is launching its digital marketing programme in collaboration with Dutch marketing leader Adwise Academy this September — a launch that is already stirring anticipation.

Streamlining the Recruitment Process

Tech 360’s Afifi is positive about the process: “TAP made it easy to connect with this young Palestinian talent. I couldn’t recommend them enough.” TAP’s distinction, when compared to traditional recruitment avenues like social media and job platforms, hinges on two pivotal elements: meticulous vetting and on-the-job experience.

Candidates for the TAP programmes go through an initial recruitment process, in which they are carefully screened for admission to the program. Nour Zaqout, project manager at TAP, explains, “We look at their technical ability but equally so at their motivation, personality and potential.”

This helps TAP ensure that their graduates can make the most of their rigorous employability training. Known as the power skills curriculum, the carefully-crafted job-readiness curriculum primes students for real-world challenges by cultivating their communication prowess, their confidence and growth mindsets, and their entrepreneurial acumen.

Yet, it’s the practical experience provided by the programme which has really impressed companies looking to hire. With a two-month placement in companies in Europe and the US for TAP’s Business Development and digital marketing cohorts or by working on real client projects for their Software Development cohorts, students test and refine their skills in preparation for the “real thing”. With it, the start-up is bridging the gap between university education and real-world employment.

“Our graduates step into their roles having real experience, and are ready to tackle the tasks and challenges at hand. It’s what sets them apart,” says Zaqout.

Doing things differently

TAP emerges as a formidable choice for tech companies aiming to fortify their competitive edge through diversity, offering a pool of graduates of the highest caliber. And having a diverse workforce who feel valued and happy within a company is not just a ‘nice to have’ but is a driving force of a company’s bottom line. A 2020 McKinsey study substantiates the dividends of diversity, revealing that companies with diverse teams experience financial outperformance, with a staggering 45 per cent surge in revenue rooted in innovation.

In addition, diverse companies report productivity levels that are 32 per cent higher than their peers, and they are 70 per cent more likely to capture new markets and client groups.

These objective numbers illustrate what the teams of TAP and Tech 360 had already subjectively experienced: hiring diverse talent from emerging tech markets makes good business sense. Not only for companies that are struggling with a talent crunch, despite an economic downturn, but those who are looking to gain an edge in their industries.

The four new Tech 360 developers have been celebrating their new roles. Rabaya tells us: “Nothing could have prepared me better for my new role as a Backend developer than my training at TAP. I took a leap of faith, pursued my passion, and now I’m soaring towards a prosperous career in software development.”

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