More than half of UAE CEOs polled said they will add more staff in the next three years
Cybersecurity, healthcare, tourism, digital marketing and sales are among secotrs that are looking to hire in big numbers over the coming years, new studies have shown.
According to a recent survey by KPMG, more than half of UAE CEOs plan to add more staff in the next three years.
Around 56 per cent of CEOs said they will expand the number of employees by five per cent while the remaining said they would recruit between six and 10 per cent more staff by 2020.
The executives claimed there is a skill shortage in digital labour. There will be more jobs in all functions of emerging cognitive technology – robotic process automation, cognitive computing and cognitive automation.
“This would be particularly marked in sales, cited by 84 per cent of CEOs, followed by IT at 76 per cent. On a global level, IT staffing is predicted to grow the most, at 69 per cent, followed by middle management, 64 per cent, and research and development, 61 per cent,” the study noted.
Although CEOs are planning to increase headcount across all functions, one challenge is to bring in suitably trained experts, for example in artificial intelligence, to derive results from new technologies, the report said. Paradoxically, at least in the near term, the need for increased automation will result in more manpower.
Mahesh Shahdadpuri, CEO, TASC Outsourcing, said with a focus on specialist jobs, hiring activity in the UAE will likely improve from the end of 2017 and early 2018.
“The key areas where we anticipate growth are cybersecurity, healthcare, tourism and digital marketing. With more organisations jumping onto the Internet of Things [IoT] bandwagon, headcount for IT-related roles is bound to further increase. There is an increasing demand for expertise in digital functions across sectors – roles such as digital marketer, e-mail marketer, data analyst, content marketer, web developer, and so on – are seeing high demand,” he said.
“All CEOs in the UAE were unanimous in their views that their respective companies would grow over the next three years,” said Vijay Malhotra, senior partner and CEO, KPMG in Lower Gulf.
Despite a lower oil price, a new tax regime and geopolitical issues, 94 per cent of CEOs hope to experience growth in their own industry, far outpacing the growth view of 71 per cent.
“A buoyant picture emerges of CEOs in the UAE who are expecting strong and steady growth for their company, industry and country. While GDP growth in the UAE may not be as robust as in recent years, the level of CEO optimism reflects a growing maturity and confidence in their ability to adjust to a new reality and develop other, non-oil driven sources of expansion,” the report said.
Most CEOs said they are strengthening presence in existing markets and foraying into new verticals as well as targeting some new markets with focus on organic growth. The CEOs said they would invest heavily in workforce training, cybersecurity, governance and risk.
Vikas Papriwal, partner and head of markets, KPMG Lower Gulf, said the second edition of the KPMG UAE CEO Survey shows that respondents are more positive about their own business’ growth prospects than in 2016, despite declining optimism about the global economic outlook.
“A significant majority of the UAE business leaders now recognise innovation and technology disruption as drivers of business growth – 68 per cent this year compared to less than 40 per cent last year,” he added.
An impressive 88 per cent CEOs in the UAE say they are confident in their own industry’s growth, and all the UAE CEOs polled predicted growth in their own organisation. This sentiment was mirrored by GCC CEOs, 92 per cent of whom expressed similar levels of confidence for their industries over the next three years – these figures are well ahead of global CEOs.