2014 Medical Cities Conference – The Demand for Quality Healthcare in Emerging Markets

Cielo Healthcare participated at the 2014 Medical Cities conference held in Dubai on September 14-15 at The Address Dubai Marina, UAE. The healthcare event convened more than 100 healthcare leaders, ministers of health and community leaders from immediate and broader regions to discuss the future of healthcare.

More specifically, Medical Cities focused on how to build healthcare facilities that will take care of the growing population in emerging markets, including UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. As populations continue to grow and regions evolve, the demand for quality healthcare is increasing – and the way care is delivered requires change.


Cielo Healthcare President, Jill Schwieters, and Middle East Director, Jonathan Bennet, at the 2014 Medical Cities Conference.

Addressing “Change” with Medical Cities
To address this demand, governments and developers are building what is known as “Medical Cities.” These world-class medical facilities are centered within a community or region to provide quality healthcare to the surrounding population. In Saudi Arabia, they are extending Medical Cities to also create “communities” – elaborate theaters, restaurants, retail malls and residential areas that are being built adjacent to upscale healthcare complexes. Although these are being built to help and for the convenience of the population, they are also meant to attract key healthcare talent.

Prior to the event, Cielo Healthcare conducted a survey to gain insight into the views and concerns on talent by those at the heart of Medical Cities. Among attendees, there were two challenges that rose to the top of their lists:

1. Attracting skilled talent

2. Retaining skilled talent

The majority of respondents were comfortable with their organizations’ understanding of the talent they require. However, they are concerned about how their talent needs will be met. Many were also uncertain about their organizations’ ability to handle the scale and complexity of recruitment challenges. As further proof of these challenges, more than 60% of respondents indicated concern that their competitors are doing more to attract the best talent.

The Impact of Location on Talent Strategy 
Location plays a significant role in the growth and development of these new Medical Cities. Our survey also examined the impact of talent based on location. Most respondents in UAE, Qatar and India felt that location is not an issue for attracting talent. However, more than half of those responding from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and Africa felt that location can present a significant hiring issue when looking at international talent.

According to The Global Talent Index, which provides an international perspective on how country talent environments will fare between now and 2015, the overall index confirms what one might expect – talent flourishes in, and is drawn to, developed and wealthy economies.

And yet, the challenge for these emerging markets remains: finding and attracting the right talent to come these locations, in addition to engaging this talent to stay. What is the risk to companies that fail to do so? Unless they do something special, they won’t have the people they need to operate, let alone be the best they can be. Cielo Healthcare offered several suggestions to mitigate these risks:

1. Get ahead – plan now.

2. Gain a competitive talent advantage.

3. Understand the availability of the talent you need.

4. Invest in designing and defining your Employer Value Proposition (EVP) – what’s in it for them?

5. Invest in designing and defining a Value Proposition for your location – why should talent relocate here?

6. Protect your Employer Brand – it’s all about image.

7. Don’t under estimate the mobilization and on-boarding process – “offer accepted” doesn’t mean the job is done!

Success of Medical Cities Begins and Ends with Talent 
The healthcare leaders, ministers of health and community leaders in these emerging markets have a genuine commitment to deliver quality healthcare for their growing populations. They also realize the aspirations they have for building Medical Cities begins and ends with quality talent. Although global mobility continues to grow in volume, having increased 25% over the past decade and with 50% more growth anticipated by 2020, talent remains a highly competitive resource. These leaders will need to look beyond their borders to recruit the skilled workforce that is needed, and then employ strategies to retain talent to fulfill the need for quality healthcare demanded by growing patient populations.