ALICE GRASSET , HEAD OF MARKETING , MEA , SALESFORCE
While the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the Digital Transformation of companies and industries across the Middle East , it has also resulted in the widening of already large skills gap and other inequalities . As companies seek to recover and economies face mounting levels of unemployment , now is the time to invest in people .
Where the pandemic has disproportionately impacted women and minority groups – according to McKinsey estimates , female job loss rates have been about 1.8 times higher than male job loss rates globally . The technology industry in particular has a responsibility to increase their representation and implement more flexible working arrangements .
Bridging these gaps isn ’ t just important to getting people into meaningful jobs today , but also to ensuring everyone can participate in the digital economy of tomorrow . As Middle East businesses and governments emerge from the pandemic , here are three reasons why reskilling must be a priority . As the pandemic has evolved , so too have the demands of Middle East customers and the services that businesses offer . In a world where companies are increasingly judged on the quality of the customer experience they provide , technologies such as Artificial Intelligence ( AI ) and automation are
Although academic institutions have encouraged the building of careers in the fields of science , technology , engineering , and maths , there remains a lack of understanding of how accessible digital careers can be .
an imperative . Research firm IDC predicts that global spending on AI will double over the next four years – reaching US $ 110 billion in 2024 ( up from US $ 50 billion in 2020 ).
While the combination of the pandemic and rapid technological advancements may decrease demand for certain task-orientated jobs , a lot of jobs will be transformed entirely . Increasingly professions like marketing , for example , rely on AI to deliver successful campaigns . The potential for cloud computing , software engineering , data and AI to complement existing jobs and to create new roles , products , and services is enormous . With the right skills , businesses can set employees up for success .
And although academic institutions have encouraged the building of careers in the fields of science , technology , engineering , and maths ( STEM ), there remains a lack of understanding of how accessible digital careers can be . Working together , education systems , governments and businesses can provide knowledge , training , and skills to break down barriers to the participating in the digital economy , entering the tech industry , and ensuring no one is left behind by technological advancements that will continue long after the pandemic .
Going forward , Middle East businesses don ’ t just have a responsibility to provide opportunities for communities to retrain and transition to the jobs of the future . It ’ s increasingly within their interest to do so . Just as the Fourth Industrial Revolution demands that we close existing hard skills gaps , the work-fromanywhere world we now live in requires us to further invest in soft skills – to solve complex problems , challenge the status quo , and engender a shared sense of purpose among remote teams .
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