'Disruption' is biggest driver of growth, say UAE bosses

Majority of CEOs expect disruption to hit their sectors within three years
'Disruption' is biggest driver of growth, say UAE bosses
By Sarah Townsend
Wed 27 Sep 2017 11:51 AM

Almost two-thirds of UAE CEOs say ‘disruption’ is a major catalyst for growth within their businesses, according to professional services firm KPMG.

The firm’s 2017 KPMG CEO Outlook Survey found that 64 percent of UAE-based CEOs said they expect ‘major disruption’ in their industries in the coming three years.

Despite this, an even larger proportion – 88 percent – said they expect growth in their industry over the same time period.

Some 84 percent of respondents said they expect to invest heavily in data analytics tools and automation, to catch the wave of digital innovation that could help them to grow.

The survey polled over 1,200 CEOs from across the globe, including around 100 from the GCC and around 25 from the UAE.

Examples of disruptions cited by respondents include challenges arising from global economic uncertainties, the introduction of a new tax regime in the Gulf, and geopolitical issues.

Yet, the majority of CEOs perceive these challenges as opportunities rather than threats, the survey found, with 88 per cent of UAE CEOs confident in the growth prospects of their own industry over the next three years, and 92 per cent of CEOs across the GCC expressing similar confidence.

Innovation is seen as a high priority for CEOs in the UAE, with nine out of ten indicating it is an area for strong investment, KPMG said. Further, 84 percent of UAE-based CEOs believe risk can prompt innovation in certain products and services.

Meanwhile, more than 64 percent of UAE CEOs said they were expecting to scale up their current business operations and processes. Improving their own skills as CEOs and businessepeople was cited as a necessary part of this, with another 64 percent saying they had pursued new skills and/or some form of training in the last 12 months.

An equal proportion of UAE CEOs also highlighted the importance of improving their emotional intelligence as well as technical skills, KPMG said.

Vijay Malhotra, chairman and CEO of KPMG in the UAE and Oman, said: “UAE CEOs are among some of the most dynamic in the world and it is very clear that while they face new challenges and uncertainties, they remain determined to drive growth.

“Despite lower oil prices, a new tax regime and geopolitical issues, the optimism shown by CEOs reflects a growing maturity and confidence in themselves and their organisations’ ability to adjust to a new reality and develop other non oil-driven sources of business.”

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