New research from Outsized reveals key sectors in the Middle East using talent on demand
Outsized’s Talent-on-Demand 2022 report, based on proprietary data collected from its platform revealed the Middle East as one of the fastest growing regions in terms of growth in the new freelance economy. In keeping with the worldwide trend, there is a growing demand for specialist skills in the area of digital products and services in the region. Based on Outsized’s clients’ demands, the top desired skill sets in the MENA region for 2022 include digital transformation, payments, data governance and analytics, agile methodologies, cards and project and program management.
As the MENA region continues to consciously move away from oil dependence, digital transformation and automation are taking centre stage and are being widely hailed as the Fourth Industrial Revolution along with data being christened as the ‘new oil’. Governments are investing significantly in skills development and infrastructure to support this move. One of the initiatives implemented by the government termed UAE Industry 4.0, aims to transform UAE into a globally competitive, productive, and sustainable sector at the cutting edge of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Owing to massive transformation caused by rapid modernization and initiatives implemented by the regional authorities for digital transformation, many enterprises are consciously shifting towards these agile work models to address chronic skill shortages. In a McKinsey’s 2021 Global Survey, 58 percent of the respondents stated that closing the skills gap has become a higher priority since the pandemic began. Narrowing down to the region, PwC’s survey found that skill gaps in the region are adversely affecting the growth in 3 out of 4 organizations.
Vikram Malhotra, Managing Director for MENA at Outsized, commented, “Prior to the onset of the pandemic, on one hand, enterprises were struggling to find the right talent to meet their needs, and on the other hand, skilled talent found it difficult to find the right opportunities with blue chip clients due to a very fragmented market. The MENA region is witnessing the dual benefit of local talent getting access to global opportunities and regional organizations getting access to global talent.”
The report reveals that Outsized’s MENA clients were focused on higher skills areas and that the trend of independent consulting and skilled freelancer contracts is increasing with those onboarded often being based abroad. With the increased acceptance of remote working, combined with the growing digital adoption during the pandemic, Outsized saw a steep pick up in registrations from local and international technology and data specialists. E-commerce and Buy Now Pay Later services have also been booming on the platform, leading to increased interest from payments and card experts. Equally robust demand from consulting firms led to a large number of strategy and banking specialists enrolling across mid and senior levels.
Outsized also reports skill growth for the payments, consumer banking and project management industries at 11, 5.5 and 5 times what it was in the previous year respectively. The report further reveals that the top sectors hiring skilled talent through Outsized are financial services management consulting and strategy consulting firms.