UK Travel
The aviation industry was shedding jobs during the height of the pandemic, and more bad news keep stalking it. Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: Those employed in the travel and tourism industry in the UAE and elsewhere suffered the most from job losses and pay cuts as COVID-19 struck and businesses took immediate action to stem their losses.

The numbers are showing the extent of it – 58 per cent faced pay cuts and 13 per cent said they were furloughed. There was some respite in the final weeks of last year, but more travel and social movement restrictions will delay further gains up until summer.

It was the same situation for those professionals in the education sector, with 5 per cent having to go on furlough and 52 per cent making do with salary cuts.

Wide geography

The report is based on a survey of 1,481 accounting and finance professionals in China, India, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the US done by the IMA (Institute of Management Accountants). Respondents were evenly divided among these five countries with more than one-third of them being women and the percentage ranging from a high of 51 per cent in China to 18 per cent in Saudi Arabia.

  1. Just short of 20% of Indian companies revealed that they had let go of most or all of their employees, according to the IMA survey.
  2. Companies’ beliefs in how they were faring compared was influenced by firm size: larger firms (greater than 1,000 employees) were more likely (39%) to believe they were ahead of their competition than smaller (less than 100 employees) ones.
  3. 72% believed their companies should financially support employee upskilling. This was consistent across all countries. This varied from 57% in China and 55% in the US to 47% in India and 39% in the UAE.
  4. Respondents at smaller (less than 100 employees) companies were also more concerned about their skills than those working for larger organizations. This may reflect the fewer resources available to employees at these companies to develop and maintain their skills. Younger respondents were more likely to believe their skills would not be relevant post-pandemic than older ones.

Remaining intact

Professionals in accounting and finance were better protected against the threat of job losses, as were those in IT, telecom, banking, and real estate. But all manner of jobs will feel some residual impact from the long shadow cast by the pandemic.

Raef Lawson, Vice-President, Research and Policy Professor-in-Residence at IMA said, “Many finance professionals are voicing their concerns about the evolving skillsets required post-COVID-19 and many are now working on improving their skills across a wide range of topics. One thing is clear: the pandemic has accelerated changes within the field of finance and accounting; finance professionals must work to enhance their skills in order to maintain and advance their careers.”

68%

Those respondents who indicated they were more interested in upskilling because of the pandemic