According to AT Kearney, GCC’s e-commerce market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 30.2 percent to $19.8 billion by 2020 from $5.3 billion in 2015. UAE and Saudi Arabia remain the key markets and are expected to cumulatively contribute over 80 percent of total e-commerce transactions by 2020.
Since the dip in oil prices, the GCC governments have started looking at private sector involvement as an alternative to sustain health-care funding and are keenly promoting PPPs, rolling out mandatory insurance coverage and encouraging private players to set up facilities. Likewise, regional governments have been working incessantly, in collaboration with the private players, to boost key economic sectors such as healthcare, education, transportation and logistics (T&L), e-commerce, and food and beverages (F&B), which holds necessary potential and promise for potential investors in this region.
Over the past decade, the GCC sovereigns have undergone major economic transformations with an aim to diversify their oil-dependent economies. Historically, the GCC nations have been able to self-fund their economic development but foreign investments have become imperative in diversifying their revenue base, especially in the wake of the low oil price scenario.
The newfound emphasis is to bank on the services sector, as the GCC countries have continued to make huge inroads in their diversification agenda by implementing several policies and reforms to strengthen the business environment, develop infrastructure, and increase financing for regional companies, especially the SMEs that has proven to be the new growth engine for the region.
LinkedIn Talent Solutions, Emerging Markets, Middle East & North Africa, review suggests the next wave of digital jobs will be shaped by the ‘Essential Eight’ technologies:
6]the Internet of Things,
“GCC governments can lead by example through championing the digitization of public institutions. GCC governments should partner with technology players, educational institutions, and the corporate sector to boost supply and create demand in the digital job market”.
Across the region, high-skilled employment stands at 21%, on average, while middle-skilled roles account for 66% of all formal sector jobs, broadly in line with the world average. The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, as well as Egypt and Jordan, lead the way in the local availability of high-skilled jobs. Some of the most common types of high-skilled employment in the MENA region include commercial bankers, corporate finance specialists and accountants, schoolteachers and academics, engineers, quality assurance professionals and information technology consultants, according to data from LinkedIn.
Similarly, the Robert Half study predicts that the biggest beneficiary in terms of salary hike in accounting and finance industry will be Tax Directors, getting 6.5 percent pay hike, followed by FP&A manager at 5.1 percent, Financial Controller at 4.9 percent, and Tax Manager 4.7 percent.
Opportunities are in store for the following jobs within Finance Planning & Accounting [FP&A] –
CFOs, financial Controllers/accountants, finance directors/managers, financial planning and analysis specialists in the accounts and finance sector. Those candidates with knowledge and skills of Oracle and SAP systems, effective communications, advanced Excel, MBA, Islamic finance knowledge and ACCA, CMA qualified professionals will be much in demand.
A combination of LinkedIn’s data (figure 10) and UNESCO’s statistics, provides a unique view of the region’s high- and medium-skilled white-collar workforce Across the GCC region, there is a distinct tendency towards a select number of specializations, resulting in a somewhat less diversified talent pool compared to other regions, as measured by the Forum’s Human Capital Index . (figure 4)
Nearly a third of LinkedIn’s tertiary-educated members in the region hold Business, Administration, and Law degrees, with a particular emphasis on qualifications in accounting, banking and finance, marketing and business management. Likewise, the data also reveals the availability of a significant pool of talent focused broadly on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), with nearly half of LinkedIn’s tertiary-educated members in the region holding such degrees.
A worrying factor for 85 percent CFOs is about losing top financial professionals to other job opportunities in the year ahead. On an average, employers predict that salaries for accounting and finance professionals will rise by 5.8 percent. Annual bonuses are being awarded on the basis of personal performance, and they average one to two months’ salary. According to market reports, the strongest demand is for mid-level finance professionals with five to seven years’ experience.
The proposed introduction of value added tax [VAT] in 2018 and potential changes to corporate tax will drive demand for Tax Specialists and Management Accountants in the lead-up to their introduction and after, creating a stronger demand for finance professionals who can help organization’s deal with the changes new tax regimes. Further, The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has officially opened registration for individuals interested in working as “tax agents”.
A professional desiring to become a “Tax Agent” in UAE must be of good conduct and behavior, never should have been convicted of a crime or misdemeanor prejudicial to honor or honesty, irrespective of whether or not he may have been rehabilitated. He/she must hold a certified Bachelor or Master degree in Tax, Accounting or Law from a recognized educational institution. If the individual holds a bachelor degree in any other field, he/she may submit a Tax Certification from an internationally recognized tax institute.
In the financial services industry, private equity and asset management executives will see 10.5 percent salary hike followed by CFOs at 7.8 percent. The demand for these jobs will come from pharmaceutical, FMCG, retail, hospitality, construction and boutique investment firms.
In the financial services industry, most positions in demand will be institutional sales specialists, wealth/private banking sales professionals, regulatory and compliance officers, anti-money laundering specialists and brokers, according to a Robert Half report.
In the technology sector, IT managers will see the biggest hike between seven and eight percent increment followed by system managers at 6.5 percent. In the human resources and administration, salaries are projected to rise up to 7.1 per cent for the head compensation and benefits department. Candidates having experience of project management infrastructure and application rollouts, new platforms such as the Internet of Things and Convergent technologies and User and Customer experience will be in demand.
New technologies continue to drive demand for skilled IT professionals in the UAE, especially in ERP platforms and mobile.
In the legal sector, salaries of partners, paralegal, and legal assistant will see the biggest hike of 7.1 percent, 6.8 percent, and 6.7 percent, respectively. While the posts which shall remain available would involve- senior regional counsel, corporate and commercial lawyers, junior counsel and paralegals. Candidates applying for these posts will have to be Western educated with GCC experience, Arabic drafting expertise and effective English communication skills.
According to Bayt’s survey, industries that offer the best salary packages included banking and finance (22 percent), aerospace and aviation (14 percent), and engineering/design (12 percent).
The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs analysis found that, compared to 2015, 21% of core skills required across all occupations will be different by 2020 in the GCC as will be 41% of those in Turkey. See Figure 12 below.
If you wish to be part of this economic growth you will need a world-class education to sharpen your skills. We, at Westford University College, offer bachelors and masters program from world-renowned UK universities. Feel free to get in touch with us and our counsellors will be happy to guide you.
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