Although technology makes it easier than ever for younger generations to start businesses, they must ensure that they have adaptable and versatile skills that will allow them to succeed in a rapidly changing job market, according to experts speaking at the Arabian Business Forum in Dubai.
Speaking to ITP Chairman Andrew Neil at the forum on Monday, SellAnyHome.com CEO Omar Chihane said technology has served as “an enabler” for new generations of businessmen.
“Five years ago, putting up a website was 10 times easier than 10 years ago. Today it’s $15 and your up and running,” he said. “You can get merchants, you can get products drop shipped. You actually don’t have to have money for inventory. You can just start it up tomorrow.”
However, Vijay Tirathrai, the managing director of Techstars Dubai Accelerator, warned that “technology is not a silver bullet.”
“You still need the right mindset. The right people to use it,” he said.
Tirathrai added that to ensure success, young people will need to ensure they have a number of fundamental skills that can “transcend” specific jobs.
“If you look the demographics of the wider region...the vast majority of the [data] suggest that a very young population, and the emerging markets they represent are adapting technology so rapidly through the usage of mobile phones,” he said.
“There is a whole bypassing of the traditional infrastructure....that’s changing how young people are adopting new learning and information and getting into the workplace.”
Although Tirathrai acknowledged that there may be concerned that the current economy is “not equipped” to deal with this new reality, there are “tremendous opportunities” for new generations.
“What is important is the ability to have social skills, the ability to have an agile mentality, it learn and adapt, to collaborate,” he said. “Those are skills that transcend any jobs.....if you choose any field, the fundamental skills of having that mindset and ability to deal with people is far more important. I can't tell you what will be the most relevant jobs in five years.”
Similarly, Edmond Hussein, the CEO and co-founder of Felix, a B2B software as a service company, said that he’d advise young people today to be ready to change their jobs and learn new skills as required.
“Be prepared for a life of learning and be flexible,” he said. “I expect to have to change industries at some point in my life...I don’t think I’ll be in the same industry until I retire. I think this is what’s going to differentiate who finding fulfilling work and career paths versus those that don’t.”
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