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The Middle East is changing fast. Is its workforce keeping up?

A new PwC Middle East report says employees trust AI and are putting effort to secure their future jobs.

The Middle East is changing fast. Is its workforce keeping up?
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

How quickly the workplace has evolved over the past few years, and the rate of change is expected to increase exponentially as we progress through the 21st century. 

Is the workforce encountering a dizzying pace of innovation prepared for the future? Increasingly, employers and educators are realizing that the workforce needs to be equipped not only with the technical skills to be successful but also with the less tangible durable skills that will be required to compete in a rapidly evolving environment.

The recent PwC Middle East’s 2023 Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey finds that the workforce in the Middle East is more agile than ever and looks forward to embracing Artificial Intelligence (AI) more than its global counterparts.

The survey also found that upskilling is integral to boardroom discussions as companies navigate rapid transformations and diversification.

In the region, employees are beginning to realize a direct correlation between equipping themselves with more skills and unlocking the future potential of work. 

In fact, 52% of those surveyed in the region, compared to the global 36%, noted that they believe their jobs will experience a significant change in the coming five years, which will require them to get a hold of new skills. 

Meanwhile, 62% believe that acquiring green skills would be vital in driving their careers, compared to the global 39%. 

“Looking ahead, the significance of digital and green/sustainability skills will continue to grow, playing a crucial role in securing the relevance and future success of organizations,” said Randa Bahsoun, Partner, Government & Public Sector – New World New Skills Leader, PwC Middle East.

Moreover, employees are keen on AI becoming a companion in the workplace. The research suggests that employees trust AI, with 46% of respondents recognizing that AI can enhance their workplace productivity, exceeding the global 31%. 

The report also found that having autonomy and being satisfied with the job is crucial in whether or not employees remain at their workplace. 

Mostly influenced by younger workers, 39% of respondents expressed a higher likelihood of switching employers in 2023, compared to 30% reported last year. The trend is guided by 37% being Gen Z employees and 40% of them being millennials. 

“Our survey highlights that organizations need to recognize the emergence of a new generation in the workforce, Gen Z, which embraces its characteristics,” said Bahsoun.

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