Constant upskilling will pay off for workforces in any industry, not least those in the ecommerce space. Image Credit: Supplied

Jobs based on single, fixed skillsets are becoming a thing of a past. Digital innovation is redefining workplaces and working lives. Tech positions have not just increased in number, but diversified over the years.

Looking at Amazon’s hiring data in the US alone, there has been a 159 per cent increase in positions focused on the user experience. The changing nature of roles means people need to retrain and constantly update their skills to maintain their employment prospects in the digital economy. This presents business leaders with a question: What can we do to help equip local talent with the skills of the future?

The answer, for me, lies in ensuring people have access to opportunities and inspiring them to embark on a journey of lifelong learning.

A region in transition

Many jobs will be transformed by technology in the next decade – potentially over 1 billion globally, according to the OECD. In the MENA region and Pakistan, McKinsey predicts, 17 per cent of jobs could cease to exist by 2030. However, technology will also create jobs – 12 million more by 2025, the World Economic Forum says.

This changing landscape presents huge opportunities for reskilling and upskilling people for future-facing roles. The speed of the UAE’s digital innovation regularly puts it in the global Top 10 for digital maturity. Across MENA, governments are prioritising digital transformation.

Investment is flowing into innovation and reskilling workforces, and these digital transformations will create a huge boost in revenue and millions of jobs for the region, as per the World Bank.

Last-mile innovation

Ecommerce is playing a big role in this digital shift, with its market size in the region expected to climb to $49 billion in 2025, from $31.7 billion last year. The last mile – the final part of the journey of a parcel from a delivery station to the customer’s front door – is continually innovating to meet rising expectations. We will soon open a delivery station in Abu Dhabi that will be one of the UAE’s largest and most technologically advanced logistics facilities.

Employees in our fulfilment and last-mile network work with the latest technology, leveraging AI, algorithms for optimisation of delivery routes and enhanced user interfaces to improve ease of execution. This allows them to acquire and constantly update the core skills for working in the digital economy.

Nurturing talent

This brings me back to that crucial question: What part do companies and their leaders play in ensuring staff develop the skills of the future? We have an important role in helping people embrace opportunities to learn and then guiding them through this ever-evolving landscape.

My team and I feel especially proud that several operations managers and site leaders in our MENA team started out as seasonal associates in our facilities. Inevitably, some of these employees will at some point move on from the Amazon family, but we celebrate every success as we equip people with the skills to help them thrive, wherever they build their careers. Companies have a responsibility to train future generations for the wider industry, not just for our own workforce.

Inspiring futures

Fast, agile and innovative last-mile infrastructure will make a strong contribution to the success of the UAE’s ecommerce strategy. A skilled workforce, equipped with the digital and IT skills required to manage demand from millions of customers, will also be essential.

To be part of a leadership team working to deliver these ambitions is an exciting challenge and, of course, a great privilege. There’ll be the usual criteria for measuring success but helping to prepare thousands of people for successful careers in the jobs of the future is truly one of the most satisfying aspects of this journey.