By : Saber Mohamed - Nahla Makled
A new survey by PwC in 19 countries, including four across the GCC, reveals that the way people work and the expectations they have for their employers has seen significant shifts in light of COVID-19. Reflecting the speed at which organisations needed to accelerate and develop their digital upskilling programmes to keep up with the change technology has presented.
The survey titled “Hopes & Fears -Insights from the GCC” found that despite the pandemic, GCC workers sentiment about the future is positive, with 61% of workers saying they are excited or confident about what the future holds, while only 27% say they are worried. Additionally, as a result of the accelerated digital transformation caused by the pandemic, 71% believe that technology provides more opportunities than risks, while 40% claimed to have improved their digital skills during this time.
However, there is a growing concern that many jobs will become obsolete in the next 5 years due to technological advances, says 58% of the survey respondents.
Commenting on the findings Randa Bahsoun, Partner, New world. New skills. Leader at PwC Middle East said: “While enabling digital transformation and growing the digital economy has been a pillar of national reform agendas in the GCC, COVID-19 has accelerated this along with the evolving behaviors of a young, tech-savvy population.”
It has been evident that employers that provided the necessary skills and technology during the migration to online and remote work were able to provide a seamless transition into this new way of working, while others were forced to play catch-up. And, although remote working is here to stay for the time being, 72% of employees said that they prefer a mixture of in-person and remote working, with only 9% stating they’d like to go to the office full-time, and 19% wanting to remain fully remote.
As more digitally savvy Millennials and Gen Z’s dominate the workforce in a time of crisis and uncertainty, digital learning has become more important than ever. As a matter of urgency, young people need digital skills to embrace this digital world and workforce. This is widely accepted, with 86% of people surveyed stating that they are confident they can adapt to new technology entering their workplace. With around 60% of respondents in the 18-to-34 age group, this cohort is made up of “digital natives”, familiar with constant online interaction in their working and private lives and accustomed to rapid technological change. With a large part of their careers ahead of them, the survey findings show that when this group looks to the digitised future, they see employment prospects which they fully intend to seize.