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Workers of the future: Is your organisation prepared?

Preparing for the workers of the future is the area where the Middle East is more prepared in comparison to global, with over half of the statements having a higher readiness result.

In this section, we look at three key categories:

  • 21st century skills
  • Global talent market
  • New talent mix
Readiness for Workers of the Future
Readiness for Workers of the Future

Middle East respondents felt more prepared than globally in 45% of the areas across the three categories

21st century skills

As more routine tasks become automated, workers with problem-solving, leadership, emotional intelligence and creativity skills will become even more valuable. It will be vital for workers of the future to do the things which machines can’t. When it comes to collaboration with educators and policy makers, the risk factor in the Middle East is higher because although employers agree to the importance of collaboration, there is simply less collaboration here.

“We need a more flexible approach to “counting education or lifelong learning”- the credit system is too narrow... we need to encourage our students to spend more time in the workplace”

Dr. Addel al Ameri Vice President Strategy & Futures, Higher Colleges of Technology.

Educators tell us that employers don’t worry enough about this because they think they can always find the skills they need among expats. Collaboration is also quite hard to achieve in the Middle East because the higher education sector is not as tuned into the employability needs of its graduates as in other parts of the world, where it is a priority for the all-important rankings. But things are changing, as universities look to engage more with employers and understand the importance of graduate employability.

Global talent market

Q19: Our sourcing and talent management strategies recognise the need to compete in a global talent market.

Q19: Our sourcing and talent management strategies recognise the need to compete in a global talent market.

Q20: We have effective global mobility and collaboration programmes that make the best use of talented people across borders.

Q20: We have effective global mobility and collaboration programmes that make the best use of talented people across borders.

Q21: We recognise pools of key skills around the world and consider our location strategy with access to talent in mind.

Q21: We recognise pools of key skills around the world and consider our location strategy with access to talent in mind.

New talent mix

In line with the global trend, organisations in the Middle East are embracing a wider range of working arrangements. This extends to all stages from attraction to development and retention, and is illustrated by the rise of the ‘digital nomad’ in recent years – the person who can work from anywhere, thanks to technology. In some cases, face-to-face work is still essential - and in consulting, clients are still a long way from accepting that remote working is effective. But that is the direction of travel. Working arrangements are becoming increasingly diverse.

Options for employers could include shifting their focus from full-time to contingent workers, including consultants, freelancers, contractors and part-time employees. This however, does not mean that full-time employees are no longer needed especially in niche industries where there is no track record in many countries (such as nuclear), or in new technology (such as cyber), or in new specialisms (like tax and compliance).

of respondents agree that is important to be able to engage easily with flexible talent as and when they are needed.

Recommendations

  • Promote ‘21st Century Skills’ such as creativity, design thinking, leadership skills and innovation in order to capitalise on these in collaboration with AI and digital technology. Evolve ways of looking at employee development, taking into account continuous upskilling as an iterative process and allowing more space for on the job learning and knowledge transfer.
  • Increase awareness of digitisation and the introduction of AI in their field in order to proactively upskill, freeing time for more creative idea generation and further upskilling.
  • Challenge traditional delivery channels for learning and fully integrate AI and digital technology within the learning and development agenda. Using cloud based solutions can challenge the traditional delivery channels not only by offering a truly flexible learning experience, but also by providing access to learning solutions from around the globe.
  • Redefine the interface between the education sector and the business world in order to develop comprehensive career paths for learners and to increase opportunities for employees to upskill or return to work after a career break. This partnership should not just focus on providing skills but on developing learning attitudes to equip employees with the mindset which will allow them to continuously develop alongside technology.
  • Local companies need to recognise that selective use of expats is required when there are no nationals who can do the role, despite a short term rise in costs. In order to encourage national talent building, expatriates should be incentivised to develop local talent. In parallel, organisations need to have a clear talent sourcing strategy and identify which skills can be developed in the long term and which skills may need to be hired from external sources in the short term.

Contact us

David Suarez

David Suarez

Partner, Consulting, PwC Middle East

Tel: +971 4 304 3981

Sally Jeffery

Sally Jeffery

Global Education & Skills Network Leader, PwC Middle East

Tel: +971 (0)56 6820539

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