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Be prepared for a lifetime of learning and re-skilling in the new economy

Experts at the Arabian Business Forum in Dubai (November 2018) said that young people need fundamental skills in the future, while still being prepared to change professions and continue learning.

The theme of ‘Continue Learning’ resonates across businesses and industries as the critical piece of success both near and long term.

Vijay Tirathrai, the managing director of Techstars Dubai Accelerator, said “What is important is the ability to have social skills, the ability to have an agile mentality, to learn and adapt, to collaborate. Those are skills that transcend any jobs.....if you choose any field, the fundamental skills of having that mindset and ability to deal with people is far more important.”

Similarly, Edmond Hussein, the CEO and co-founder of Felix, a B2B software as a service company, said that he’d advise young people today to be ready to change their jobs and learn new skills as required.

“Be prepared for a life of learning and be flexible,” he said. “I expect to have to change industries at some point in my life...I don’t think I’ll be in the same industry until I retire. I think this is what’s going to differentiate who is finding fulfilling work and career paths versus those that don’t.”

A UAE ‘Talent Deficit’ by 2020

Jonathan Holmes, managing director, Middle East & North Africa for Korn Ferry, an international recruitment firm, raised this point at the Arabian Business Forum in November 2018.

“As technology advances, concern has been steadily increasing that we, as a labor market, are unprepared. Some have gone as far as to say that technology will lead to mass unemployment, which, in turn, will have a significant impact on the very fiber of our societies. These concerns, at the very least, should lead us all to ask ourselves an important question: what can we do to prepare?”

The numbers are alarming. According to research from Korn Ferry, 60 percent of business leaders in the UAE predict that a talent deficit will hit the country as early as 2020. Another 50 percent of respondents said they believe that a third of the existing workforce will no longer be needed in 10 years, along with 20 percent of the total number of human roles.

According to recent research, business analysis and marketing strategy, financial services firms are the largest investors in AI and will have spent close to $10 billion by 2020.  More than 75% of global finance managers believe that AI will be key to making their businesses successful in the future, but only around 25% of banking employees are ready to engage fully with AI in the workplace.

There is always a bright side

Fortunately, a SWOT analysis of the future of the workplace need not be all doom and gloom. Increasingly, companies are demonstrating innovative thinking and new ways of approaching the issue based on data and analysis at the company, country and industry levels including competitors, valuations, trends, forecasts and analytics from Global Market Analyst.

One example, as Dell EMC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey SVP Mohammed Amin noted while also speaking at the Arabian Business Forum, is that employers in the future will focus more on the “innovative” potential of job candidates, to determine the probability of them being able to adapt to new business models.

Market intelligence drawing on in-depth primary and secondary research, databases of proprietary in house data and high quality analysis from experts like those at Global Market Analyst, show that this is part of what progressive HR departments are working on; new ways to identify abilities and potential in future staff members that have gone unnoticed and under-utilized previously.  This is a powerful advantage for adaptive businesses and will provide fulfilling opportunities for talented people to grow and develop.  And, this will become increasingly necessary to remain competitive for both individuals and businesses.

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