Digital skills taking us to task
Employers require new skills in the workplace to keep up with changing mindsets.
KN is a reputed ophthalmologist in the UAE who believes that polishing his IT skills will help him become quicker in his job. After checking a series of online courses offering digital skills, KN has enrolled for a free course, which he hopes to complete during his weekend.
The question is, why is KN investing in upgrading his skills? Is it his employer who should be helping him upgrade skills, according to market demands? Whether employers should invest in upskilling employees or is it the employees who should upgrade and explore better opportunities is a hot topic of discussion.
With the UAE being a global talent pool, the job market is extremely competitive making recruiters turn tough to get the right candidate for any open positions. How do they pick up the right candidate for a potential opportunity, given that possessing digital skills in the UAE is not a mere choice but a mandatory requirement as the competition is fierce.
Harvey Bennett, co-founder and partner of Searchie, said: "Continuous learning is led by demand. Employers require new skills in the workplace to keep up with changing mindsets, tools and competition. At the same time, the nature of the workplace and employer/employee relationships have changed. Freelancing, the gig economy, micro-tasking, flexible working, co-working spaces, automation and artificial intelligence, have all affected how we work, where we work and the social contracts that bind us."
"Task-based skills are more important today than they have ever been and new tasks are created every day. It has become the responsibility of both employer and employee to invest in their development," he added. "Without in-demand skills, you won't find an employer who will recruit and invest in your career development. Nobody cares about your career than you."
Sridhar Subbaraman, founder and owner of Oasis Insurance Group, had been scouting social media to hire the right candidate for his organisation. "With the UAE government's ambition to be ranked No.1 in everything, there will be no place for mediocrity. Technologic penetration has become part of every business sphere and jobseekers' resumes should have the right blend of industry knowledge. Luckily, the infusion of technology into school curriculums are preparing youngsters for the future."
He added: "Technology has further enabled to identify candidates at a global level with social and leadership skills. It is now about head-hunting and not mere recruitment. Going forward, companies would look forward to having an intelligent mix of brain and machine. We are not looking for process-followers anymore. 'Humanoids' - as they call it in robotics - is the way ahead. Combining domain knowledge and equipping it with the right digital skills will be key to success in the future."
Prabhu Ramachandran, founder and CEO of Facilio, said: "It will make more sense for employers to take existing employees that have great domain knowledge, and upskill them with the latest technology, instead of hiring a tech specialist. For example, a person with experience in HVAC system trained on analytics would be a better choice than just an analyst."
The UAE job market is going through a paradigm shift with a need for wide and varied talents, paving way for innovative avenues. Jobseekers are perplexed about how to penetrate the job market with the right tools.
Anuj Namdev, IT/non-IT recruiter/talent acquisition/recruitment, consultant, said: "Employers have to upgrade and let employees know market trends and which path to follow to add on skills. Expats can easily get lost because they come from different backgrounds, cultures and markets. Hence, guidance is important. People here must have been guided by someone at one point of time and they must give chance for newcomers to prove themselves."
"A phrase we hear most of the time we hear is 'we are looking for someone with UAE experience'. It means either you are not interested, you don't have the pay scale or you need a reference. This should change," he added.
Dubai resident, Sarayu V., said: "I believe it would be great if companies upskill their employees. As a jobseeker, I know how difficult it is to get job here. If a company tells me to undergo certain certifications, I will definitely do it. Ethically, the company should conduct the training, but logically, if I run a company I would prefer employees who are ready to invest in developing their skills."
Oliv, a Dubai-based startup specialising in recruiting interns, opines that most successful organisations offer structured training and upskilling programmes.
"We see this begin with internships or graduate trainee programmes, where junior staff members are trained over a three-to-12-month period for their onward career in the company. Various studies have shown that by nurturing talents with such programmes, staff increase their productivity and organisations tend to retain their staff for longer through employee loyalty," said Jean-Michel Gauthier, CEO and co-founder of Oliv.
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