By Sam Bridge
Research shows 76% of business leaders say they believe that the skills gap will hinder their company's growth
Battle lines are being drawn among UAE businesses as bosses compete to hire the best talent, with fears that a skills gap will hinder growth, according to new research.
Independent research commissioned by international recruitment consultancy, Robert Half UAE, showed that 76 percent of business leaders said they believe that the skills gap will hinder their company’s performance.
Despite this, UAE business leaders said they are upbeat about their company’s growth prospects for the first half of 2020, with 69 percent saying they are "very confident".
The research showed that the optimism is driven by their company’s objective to expand business opportunities (43 percent), ability to attract suitable talent to drive success (19 percent), and the improving economic climate as a catalyst for business growth (17 percent).
Many organisations in the region are struggling to keep up with rapid technological advances, and according to 29 percent of business leaders, the fast pace of technological change and associated skills is the main cause of a widening skills gap, it added.
Business leaders in the UAE also revealed that operational expansion is the primary influence for their 2020 hiring strategy.
More than 2 in 5 (42 percent) of business leaders hold this outlook, while 44 percent stated that maintaining their existing workforce will be critical for sustaining growth throughout the year.
Regarding hiring plans for 2020, 29 percent of business leaders indicated that attracting suitable talent was the primary influence on their plan. Many organisations are also experiencing increased workload (21 percent) and employee turnover (17 percent).
Gareth El Mettouri, associate director of Robert Half UAE, said: “It’s great to see that UAE business leaders are starting the year with an optimistic outlook. Many of the businesses we are working with are exploring opportunities to expand their competitive advantage by implementing digitalisation to meet rising customer expectations.
"To effectively achieve this, many acknowledge that they need to bolster their ability to attract and retain the best available talent in the region – or in cases needing to compete on an international level. To do this effectively requires being clear on the skillsets required, relaxing job descriptions, and offering greater training and mentoring opportunities.
"That is why we believe it’s vital that we continuously seek to understand current-, medium- and long-term business and labour market trends, to provide both our clients and candidates with the support they need to ‘future-proof’ their careers and businesses.”