As advancements in technology increased at a dramatic rate over the last 15 years, an indisputable gap opened up between the available technology and the people who were qualified to work and develop projects at this level.
The skills gap has been a problem threatening the tech sector for years – has the situation changed?
The skills gap, while it is changing and evolving along with advancements, is still a pertinent issue, made worse by recent global events.
In the Middle East, the demand for skilled workers currently exceeds supply. The UAE and Saudi Arabia are expected to miss out on US$14.46 billion and £25.80 billion worth of business respectively by the end of the year, according to recent research – that’s a significant amount.
We can’t deny that there is still a distinct lack of talent for certain tech roles – the most innovative employers are all competing from the same pool of talent.
But there are areas where the gap is closing; today I want to share my experiences of how the tech, payment tech and cybersecurity sectors are faring and when, and if, the skills gap can be closed.
Where the Gap Still Exists
Tech skills are still in demand in almost every sector; we have seen the most significant increase recently due to situations beyond our control – Covid-19.
For many organisations, the difference between success and failure during the coronavirus pandemic was the ability to operate remotely.
This move from office to home working sped up the trajectory of the way we work – the world has been moving to a digital format for years; the virus only accelerated this move.
As the virus impacted sectors across the globe, the saviour for many organisations was the ability to work from home – often for the first time. Organisations which have never dipped their toe into the digital world are now rushing to move online – tech talent is needed more than ever.
Let’s look at the areas in which tech talent is needed.
The Covid-19 outbreak caused shockwaves across all businesses, with a particular focus on payment technology.
Matt Jackson, of fintech Path81, said of the shake-up “The pandemic has accelerated the growth of both e-commerce and cloud payment processing at a rate and level which nobody had foreseen..it has compressed things which would normally have taken five to 10 years, into 90 to 120 days.”
Companies who specialise in payment and banking technology can expect to see this growth continue as organisations strive to futureproof themselves.
Separate to Covid-19, demands in terms of cybersecurity, regulations and compliance have also increased recently. Again, helped by the onset of the pandemic.
New laws to regulate global transactions are being created all the time. The recent Global Data Protection Regulation has added to the challenge of cross-country data transactions and transfers. Companies looking to make themselves as secure as possible must hire experts in this field – creating an increased demand from a diminishing pool of talent.
The pandemic also created an all-time high in reports of cybercrime. Cybercriminals are more advanced than ever, with a ‘virtual arms race’ between these rogue groups and security compliance regulators.
Additionally, with more employees than ever working from home, potentially exposing once-protected systems to criminals, the need for cybersecurity experts in all organisations has never been greater.
As you can see, the need for experts in cybersecurity has never been higher than it is currently.
But with organisations struggling to meet the demand they need in these roles, what can be done to redress this balance?
Closing the Gap?
A recent IBM survey found that across the world’s 12 largest economies, 120 million workers will need to retrain in the coming years, yet only 41% of CEOs say they hold the skills necessary to achieve this.
Many of the individuals surveyed were found to have the attitude and the aptitude to want to learn; they just weren’t being given the right access to training.
With the half-life of tech skills continuing to shrink, employers of tech organisations must acknowledge and improve their training processes to encompass the skills that are badly needed – cybersecurity, payment technology, fintech.
Additionally, to close the gap, there needs to be a focus on shifting organisational culture to be more inclusive and flexible – employers must consider hiring a more diverse range of talent.
Where are the skills gaps that need to be closed in your organisation?
If you have continually struggled to locate candidates for your roles with the highest level of talent, we can help.
We specialise in sourcing the best tech talent for businesses in the Middle East, with a proven track record. We’re the experts at finding the ‘right’ candidates for your organisation, in terms of skills, experience and culture fit. To find out how, get in contact with us here.
About Flow Talent
The Middle East is a dynamic and growing market where identifying top talented professionals for your organisation is highly competitive and we offer a range of recruitment services to help you with this.
To find out more get in contact with one of our team today.