Middle East Professionals Seek Opportunities and Growth
Mokshita P.
10x Industry

Middle East Professionals Seek Opportunities and Growth

The annual survey by ACCA highlights the Middle East's finance professionals' worries about rising inflation, technology skills development, mental health, and a growing demand for workplace diversity.

In the latest annual Global Talent Trends Survey by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, encompassing responses from 9,889 finance professionals across 157 countries, key themes have emerged for the Middle East region. The survey sheds light on pressing concerns and opportunities in the accountancy profession, providing insights for talent attraction and retention strategies.

Inflation Dominates Concerns:

The survey identifies inflation's impact on real wages as a leading concern for Middle East professionals, with 33 percent of respondents selecting it among their top three issues. Employers note growing wage demands for recruiting and retaining talent, with 29 percent citing remuneration as an incentive for professionals considering a move to a different organisation.

Technology as a Valuable Tool but Skills Gap Concerns:

The role of technology in the finance sector is highlighted, with 83 percent of employers expressing excitement about the opportunities presented by AI. However, 92 percent of Middle East respondents express a desire for further training on technology from their employers. Over half (52 percent) feel overwhelmed by the pace of technological change, and concerns about job replacement (23 percent) and the impact of AI on their roles (49 percent) are consistent across all sectors and generations.

Wellbeing and Mental Health Prioritised:

Work-related concerns in the Middle East include wellbeing and mental health, ranking among the top four for one-third of respondents. A significant 57 percent feel work pressures are affecting their mental health, with 70 percent desiring greater organisational support. Strikingly, 57 percent believe their organisation does not prioritise employee mental health.

Career Development Opportunities and Hybrid Working Preferences:

Inadequate career development opportunities top the list of work-related concerns for Middle East professionals (34 percent), while better opportunities are a primary reason for considering a move to a different organisation (38 percent). Hybrid working is gaining traction, with 76 percent of employees preferring this arrangement. However, mismatches persist, as 77 percent report being fully office-based, and only 20 percent have hybrid arrangements.

Diversity and Inclusion Crucial:

A strong diversity and inclusion culture is deemed essential by 82 percent of respondents in the Middle East. However, 41 percent feel their organisations focus more on certain aspects of diversity than others, indicating room for improvement.

Economic Strains Impact Talent Retention:

Global economic strains contribute to talent attraction and retention challenges, with 60 percent dissatisfied with their pay. Despite 71 percent requesting a pay rise in 2024, 58 percent believe they will need to leave their organisations to secure one.

Fazeela Gopalani, Head of ACCA Middle East, emphasises the importance of this data for designing effective talent attraction and retention strategies. With a shortage of talent and increasing pay rise demands, employers face ongoing challenges, yet opportunities exist for those emphasizing diversity and inclusion.

Gopalani states, “There’s a real opportunity for employers who are strong in this area to differentiate themselves in a competitive market.” The data underscores the importance of addressing changing workplace dynamics to boost a resilient and thriving finance profession in the Middle East.