WEF’s Future of Jobs report predicts a 23 per cent change in jobs in the next five years
Macrotrends, including the green transition, ESG standards and localization of supply chains, are the leading drivers of job growth, with economic challenges including high inflation, slower economic growth and supply shortages posing the greatest threat, according to the latest World Economic Forum’s (WEF) The Future of Jobs Report 2023. Advancing technology adoption and increasing digitization will cause significant labour market churn, with an overall net positive in job creation.
The report suggests that almost a quarter of jobs (23 percent) are expected to change in the next five years through growth of 10.2 percent and decline of 12.3 percent. According to the estimates of the 803 companies surveyed for the report, employers anticipate 69 million new jobs to be created and 83 million eliminated among the 673 million jobs corresponding to the dataset, a net decrease of 14 million jobs, or 2 percent of current employment.
“For people around the world, the past three years have been filled with upheaval and uncertainty for their lives and livelihoods, with COVID-19, geopolitical and economic shifts, and the rapid advancement of AI and other technologies now risks adding more uncertainty,” said Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director, World Economic Forum. “The good news is that there is a clear way forward to ensure resilience. Governments and businesses must invest in supporting the shift to the jobs of the future through the education, reskilling and social support structures that can ensure individuals are at the heart of the future of work.”
The Future of Jobs Report maps the jobs and skills of the future, tracking the pace of change. This is the fourth edition of the report, which was first launched in 2016. It aims to analyse how macrotrends as well as technology adoption are likely to reconfigure labour markets and shape the demand for jobs and skills in the 2023-2027 timeframe.
Nadia Jazairli, Founder and Managing Director at Shibaak Recruitment, commented, “The job market in the Middle East is undergoing a remarkable transformation driven by the evolving global business landscape. As traditional roles are gradually phased out, a plethora of new opportunities are emerging, predominantly in advanced technology, machine learning, and cybersecurity sectors.”
According to Lauren Connibeer, Senior Recruitment Consultant at Genie Recruitment, jobs currently in demand are digital marketing, content and growth focused across sectors such as e-commerce, technology and hospitality. “I believe this is due to so many startups launching in Dubai needing exposure which also brings an increase of competition for existing businesses. I have also seen an increase in General Manager and Operations Manager roles from my clients within technology and e-commerce who require an individual to set up business operations or scale operations across the region."
Lina Hariri, Director at ASKHR Placement Services says that the jobs in demand in the Middle East are in healthcare, technology and construction. “The Middle East is a diverse region with various economies and job markets, so the demand for jobs may differ depending on the country and sector. But overall the healthcare industry in the Middle East is rapidly expanding, driven by population growth, increasing life expectancy. There is a growing demand for medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other health professionals. The tech is continuing to see a book with many countries investing heavily in digital transformation and technology adoption. And last, in the construction sector, there is a demand for engineers, architects, project managers, and skilled construction workers. Additionally, there is a need for professionals who can manage and oversee large-scale construction projects.”
Increasing urgency for the reskilling revolution
Companies report that skills gaps and an inability to attract talent are the key barriers to transformation, showing a clear need for training and reskilling across industries. Six in 10 workers will require training before 2027 but only half of employees are seen to have access to adequate training opportunities today. At the same time, the report estimates that, on average, 44 percent of an individual worker’s skills will need to be updated.
The gap between workers’ skills and future business needs puts the onus on companies and governments to enable learning and reskilling opportunities. Government funding for skills training would help connect talent to employment, according to 45 percent of businesses surveyed.
Jazairli pointed out that “to address the skill gap challenges that conventional education systems may struggle to keep up with, the region is witnessing a surge in the education and training industry. Healthcare and general well-being remain consistently growing sectors, regardless of market fluctuations. As these new roles gain prominence, a highly competitive environment for skilled talent and expertise in relevant industries is anticipated. The Middle East is to become a significant battleground for attracting top-tier professionals in these rapidly evolving fields.”
Strong cognitive skills are increasingly valued by employers, reflecting the growing importance of complex problem-solving in the workplace. The most important skills for workers in 2023 are seen to be analytical thinking and creative thinking, and this is expected to remain so in the next five years. Technological literacy, and AI and big data specifically, will become more important and company’s skills strategies will focus on this in the next five years.
For Genie Recruitment’s Connibeer, "advanced technology is definitely being implemented more by companies across the Middle East recently. We trialled a software that vows to source candidates using AI technology. I found it to be great for the basic elements of hiring which could potentially eliminate junior HR resourcing roles. That said, I personally don’t believe technology could be adopted to cover the entire recruitment process as technology can’t decipher soft skills and best cultural fit for a business.”
The Future of Jobs Survey brings together the perspective of 803 companies – collectively employing more than 11.3 million workers – in 27 industry clusters and 45 economies from all world regions.