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Tue 13 Nov 2018 01:50 PM

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60% of business leaders predict talent deficit to hit UAE in 2020

Companies need to update labour skills to avoid a gap in talent, according to Korn Ferry survey

60% of business leaders predict talent deficit to hit UAE in 2020
Danny Leinders, senior client partner at Korn Ferry Middle East.

As many as 60 percent of business leaders in the UAE predict a talent deficit to hit the Gulf country in as early as 2020, according to a study by Korn Ferry.

Speaking at the Arabian Business Forum, Danny Leinders, senior client partner at Korn Ferry Middle East said companies need to update labour skills to prepare them for jobs of the future and avoid a gap in talent.

Areas where a gap currently exists range from information security to digital product development and big data analytics.

While Leinders said businesses are starting to realise the importance of human capital in a digital transformation, she said many lack confidence in their workforce.

“The need for technology to partner with people is critical, and that was well recognised in this country. 88 percent of UAE correspondence recognised the need to say technology needs to partner with people, but 48 percent of business leaders in the UAE do not have confidence that they can retrain and redeploy their existing workforce. That is significantly higher than the 30% we see around the globe. There isn’t enough confidence in labour,” she said.

Around 50% of respondents in Korn Ferry’s research believe one third of the existing workforce will no longer be needed in a little more than a decade from now, while 20% of human roles are expected to disappear by then.

Leinders, however, said business leaders in the UAE are not in a hurry to tackle the talent deficit, as the promise of technology is seen as the best way to meet business demands.

“They think or feel that it will be somebody else’s problem in the future. Only 9% of people [we spoke to] think ahead as far as 2030. Part of it is because simply much easier to plan for technology and tangible assets that it is to plan for your people and culture. That leaves our people at bottom of the list. Business leaders are underestimating talent,” she said.

Leinders also said the UAE should not rely on importing talent from other markets due to the talent crunch being universal. She urged leaders to develop current, local staff instead.