AI, data and enterprise infrastructure skills... they go a long way in today's UAE job market. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Dubai: Do you know your way around enterprise-level tech networks? Then you could be one of the hottest prospects in today's job market in the UAE.

It's not the only tech skills in demand right now - AI backgrounds or in cyber security will open doors for the right candidates. But in a pandemic world, there are changes in what professionals want.

“While remuneration was valued most pre-pandemic, it was replaced by well-defined culture and strong leadership after the pandemic,” a KPMG report states. “Widespread adoption of remote working practices has benefited both employers and employees, opening doors to new opportunities."

In the UAE’s competitive IT talent market, “digital leaders are prioritizing flexible working conditions over more traditional perks to retain and attract talent,” KPMG said.

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Data dominance

For UAE businesses, data is the new oil – 63 per cent of CIOs (Chief information officer) rated data collection as their most successful digital offering, as compared with 42 per cent of global CIOs. Local tech chiefs outdid their global counterparts in terms of investing in customer experience and engagement.

At the same time, 29 per cent of UAE’s digital leaders thought they were extremely effective in implementing enterprise-wide digital strategies, against the global average of 17 per cent. “This is not surprising, given rapid innovation amongst local companies, reinforced by government initiatives,” KPMG report said.

Almost two-thirds of UAE's CIOs stated that the pandemic has likely permanently increased the influence of their role. According to 70 per cent of those surveyed, the pandemic has fostered a culture of inclusivity in technology teams.

Budget spikes

Almost half of technology leaders in the UAE expect budgets for IT to increase, driven by a surge in spending on operational efficiencies, customer engagement and data-driven insights. “While the pandemic may not have necessarily altered business strategies, it has reaffirmed the importance of data, cloud and cybersecurity,” said Farhan Syed, Partner, Head of Advisory at KPMG Lower Gulf.