We were lucky enough to hear the team at Mercer present their 2023 Global Talent trends report at a recent career networking event. One fact that stuck out is that 50% of workers will need reskilling by 2025, but does this mean that our jobs are at risk?
As artificial intelligence continues to advance, many people are understandably concerned about the potential for AI to replace human workers. This concern is especially relevant in the Middle East, where automation is on the rise and there is a growing need for workers to adapt to the changing job market.
Dubai, in particular, has been at the forefront of AI adoption in the region. In 2017, the Dubai government launched the “Dubai Artificial Intelligence Strategy,” which aims to make the city a hub for AI innovation and development. The strategy includes initiatives such as the creation of an AI ethics board and the development of an AI-powered government service centre.
Banks and financial institutions in Dubai have increasingly implemented AI-powered systems to automate various tasks, such as data entry, transaction processing, and risk assessment.
Many banks in Dubai have, in fact, deployed chatbots that can handle customer service inquiries, reducing the need for human customer service representatives. AI algorithms can also be used to analyse large amounts of financial data and generate insights, which were previously performed by human analysts. As well as, the use of robo-advisors, AI-powered systems that can provide personalised investment advice to clients. These systems also use algorithms to analyse a client’s financial situation, investment goals, and risk tolerance to generate investment recommendations, replacing the need for human financial advisors in some cases.
So, with all of this AI development happening in Dubai and the Middle East, should workers be worried about losing their jobs to AI-powered systems like Chat GPT and Alexa? The short answer is no, not necessarily.
While it is true that AI can automate certain tasks and improve efficiency, there are still many jobs that require human skills and expertise. According to the report by the World Economic Forum (https://www.weforum.org/reports/global-risks-report-2023/ , the top skills that will be in demand in 2025 include critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity – all skills that AI currently cannot replicate.
In fact, PwC Middle East reported that AI is expected to create over 540,000 new jobs in the UAE alone by 2030, particularly in the areas of healthcare, education, and transport. (ww.pwc.co.uk/services/economics/insights/the-impact-of-automation-on-jobs.html)
To meet this demand for AI skills, there are already many training programs and initiatives underway in Dubai and the Middle East. For example, the Dubai Future Academy offers a range of courses on AI, blockchain, and other emerging technologies. Additionally, the Dubai government has launched the “One Million Arab Coders” initiative, which aims to teach one million young Arabs how to code and build their own start-ups.
Of course, reskilling is not just about learning new technical skills. Soft skills such as critical thinking, creativity, and emotional intelligence are also becoming increasingly important in the new economy. According to the World Economic Forum, these skills will be in high demand in the coming years, as they are difficult for machines to replicate.
So, while the future of work may be uncertain, there are many opportunities for workers in Dubai and the Middle East to acquire the skills they need to succeed. By being proactive and taking advantage of the many training and upskilling programs that are available, workers can position themselves to thrive in the new economy. With the right skills and mindset, the future is full of exciting possibilities.