The digital revolution requires a skills revolution : PwC Middle East publishes results of survey on technology, jobs and skills

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  • Workers want to be ready for the digital job market, fear of automation remains a major concern for those getting fewest opportunities to upskill, shows new PwC survey
  • 75% of people in the GCC seem to think robots will steal their jobs, but those being upskilled are least worried
  • 63% of women in the GCC are worried that new technology will make their job redundant versus 35% of men
  • 96% of adults would learn new skills now or completely retrain to improve their future employability
  • 86% of respondents in the GCC think technology will improve their job prospects and only 3% think it will make no difference, shows PwC Survey.

iT-News (digital revolution) – Technology is accelerating change across society in every corner of the globe and people need the skills to adapt. This is one of the defining issues of the generation and a solution is required. It can be done by educators, governments and businesses leading the society on an upskilling journey.

As part of a global study conducted by PwC of more than 22,000 adults across 11 countries, PwC Middle East asked 2,000 adults in the GCC to share their hopes and fears, the findings come from the new research and build on PwC’s economic analysis on the impact of automation on jobs.

While 75% of workers surveyed in the GCC believe automation will significantly change or make their job obsolete within the next ten years (vs. 53% globally), the majority, 82% (61% global) were positive about the impact of technology on their day-to-day work.  But only 23% are learning new skills through their employer to better understand or use technology (33% global).

Meanwhile, at least half believe that automation presents more opportunities than risks. They believe that automation will improve their job prospects and enable them to achieve digital proficiency or become an expert.

Men are more likely than women to think that technology will have a positive impact on their jobs and improve their employment prospects.  They are also more likely to be learning new skills 74% of the men (80% global) surveyed say they are doing so versus 66% of women (74% global).

However, opportunities and attitudes vary significantly based on an individual’s level of education. Location, gender and age also play a part.

Organisations need a new approach; they should create the right mix of skilled and adaptable people, aligned to the right culture and with the right mindset and behaviours to power their business, says PwC.

Hani Ashkar, Middle East Senior Partner, says: “Our jobs are changing, and fast. Many roles are disappearing altogether, with new, more meaningful roles taking their place. Our survey found that workers know that change is coming, they understand the need to upskill, and they are excited about the impact technology will have on their careers.

As a firm, we have committed US$3 billion to upskill our own people over the next four years. And we are already seeing tremendous change. Upskilling is more than just training. It’s about gaining the knowledge, skills and experience to add value and insight, being equipped to participate and adapt in an increasingly digital world.”

RandaBahsoun, Partner and New world. New skills. Middle East lead ends: “Last year, [in our 22nd Middle East CEO Survey], we found out that the region is indeed anxious when it comes to the availability of “new”skills. In fact, our survey told us that almost 70% of CEOs in the region regard the availability of key skills as a business threat.

With the rapid pace of change and technological advancement we are witnessing, it has become all too clear that the digital revolution requires a skills revolution. The skills revolution is about helping people build their digital awareness, understanding and skills to fully participate in the digital world — and it needs to start now.”

Survey methodology                           

The aim of this study is to survey GCC perceptions of the potential impacts of technological developments, in particular work automation, on employment and the structure of the labor market.

The study is based on a survey of a sample of the KSA and UAE working population (aged over 18), 2,016 people, of whom 89% are in employment. The survey was administered between October and November 2019.

It was carried out according to the same methodology as an international survey conducted by the PwC network among 22,094 people in 11 other countries: Australia, China, France, Germany, India, Netherlands, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, United Kingdom-United States and the United States.

New world. New skills. is PwC’s global programme to help millions of people around the world improve their understanding, skills and knowledge for the digital world.

Business has an important role to play in ensuring no one gets left behind unwillingly.

There is an urgent need for organisations, governments, educators and citizens to come together to address this growing problem. We’ll be convening discussions and working with a broad group of stakeholders to help find solutions that work in each country. We’re helping organisations in the public and private sectors anticipate the skills they will need in the future, and work together on comprehensive solutions.

Over the next four years, we are committing US$3bn in upskilling — primarily in training our people, and also in technologies for supporting clients and communities and other stakeholders across our territories. We also will be directing more of our community initiatives to focus on upskilling.

About PwC

At PwC, our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. We’re a network of firms in 157 countries with over 276,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, advisory and tax services. Find out more and tell us what matters to you by visiting us at www.pwc.com.

Established in the Middle East for 40 years, PwC has 22 offices across 12 countries in the region with around 5,600 people. (www.pwc.com/me).

PwC refers to the PwC network and/or one or more of its member firms, each of which is a separate legal entity. Please see www.pwc.com/structure for further details.

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