Dubai: UAE-based companies expect revenues to surge as much as 50 per cent in the next 12 months as activity bounces back from the depths of the pandemic, with likely gains on hiring and investment in staff programmes.
Three out of four companies expect to hire more staff in the coming 12 months, and they rank the anticipated ‘battle for talent’ as crucial to delivering on ambitious growth plans, according to a new HSBC survey. “Executives believe the battle for talent is vital to driving sustainable profitability with almost 90 per cent of companies surveyed in the UAE seeing a strong relationship between investment in the workforce and business success,” said Daniel Howlett, Regional Head of Commercial Banking for HSBC.
The companies polled are targeting roughly 25 per cent revenue growth on average over the next 12 months and eight in 10 are already making significant investments in hiring, upskilling, or training. “It is already clear to executives that the changes to come are likely to have a profound impact on both the engagement of staff and the profitability of the companies that people choose to work in,” said Howlett.
Almost all business leaders surveyed agree that optimal working arrangements would include a form of remote working. More than half are supporting employees with digital skills training, while 44 per cent are providing work life balance programmes to prepare staff for the future of hybrid working.
“The business community in the UAE is one of the most dynamic in the world, always quick to adapt to changing business environments, which makes this prioritisation of employee well-being, training, skills development and flexible working a clear indication of the global trend,” said Howlett.
Future of work itself
Salary remains a key factor for attracting and retaining talent in the UAE, with 47 per cent of business leaders citing it as such, but executives are increasingly focused on the views of staff who see hybrid working arrangements boosting growth and organisational culture. The top four areas that UAE businesses are upskilling their workforce in to respond to emerging macroeconomic trends are managing and supporting staff wellbeing (47 per cent), management and leadership in hybrid environment (41 per cent), cyber security (40 per cent) and environmental, social and governance frameworks (38 per cent).
UAE businesses are the most confident globally about driving innovation in product and customer service (67 per cent) over the next 12 months, and 74 per cent are optimistic about achieving their priority of improving customer experience, third highest after Mexico (77 per cent) and China (77 per cent). “Innovations that create opportunities, drive mobility and nourish sustainability are key themes at Expo 2020 and they align well with what UAE businesses say will enhance their competitive advantage regionally and globally,” said Howlett.
Managing costs (64 per cent) is the biggest challenge businesses in the country foresee in coming months, but they also expect hybrid working to make it easier to manage cost challenges (77 per cent), improve staff productivity (76 per cent) and enhance profitability (76 per cent).