A Roadmap to a Successful Digital Future in the Middle East

elev8 - 4 min read

A wall of digital bits dispersing into a black background

As technology becomes increasingly influential in supporting complex operations, and consumer trends gear more toward digital connectivity and experiences, businesses and governments are building and executing digital transformation strategies to remain competitive in the digital age. 

History tells us that each industrial revolution brings with it both great challenges and unprecedented opportunity and transforming to succeed in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is no different. The key, as always, will lie in having the knowledge, skills, and structure to be ready when those challenges and opportunities appear. Already we are seeing that specific skills, not to mention the capacity for learning itself, have become the new currency of the digital age. 

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) enjoy a significant advantage in the digital age in that they possess one of the youngest combined workforces in the world, with over 40 percent of workers under 30.  A vast reservoir of young minds provides the perfect platform from which to launch the next generation of technologically savvy workers within these regions. It also creates an opportunity to free nations like Qatar from their economic dependence on carbon-intensive industries.   

  • According to Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), as of 2021, Oil and Gas sectors account for 50% of the national GDP, 85% of export earnings, and 70% of government revenues. 
  • In the same year, EWG (Environmental Working Group), reported that within the Standard & Poor Index, oil and gas fell to less than 3% of the Index’s total value compared to 16% in 2010 and 30% several decades earlier. 

 Assuming the latter trend continues, the Middle East needs a radical transformation in terms of its domestically produced resources. A knowledge-based economy is an answer. 

Leading in the digital age 

Realizing this, the Qatar Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) in partnership with Microsoft and Elev8 have launched the Digital Center of Excellence (DCE) as part of the Qatar Vision 2030, and are on target to upskill 50,000 Qatari workers with key digital skills like cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity. 

 Although this is excellent news for Qatari workers at large, organizations that wish to remain competitive must also invest in upskilling and reskilling their existing workers to secure their future. You may be wondering where, to begin with, this process, after all the prospect of creating a digital skills roadmap from scratch – particularly with the speed at which technology is changing–can be daunting. 

If you’re not sure which skills you need or which employees already have them, how can you possibly start building an effective skilling program to address any gaps you might have? 

Moreover, how do you go about identifying where those gaps exist? Or which employees are naturally inclined to learn in-demand skills? 

Finding your digital skills gaps 

Conducting a thorough, enterprise-wide skills audit and assessment with a validated methodology and framework, aided by an appropriate talent management solution such as Talentwize, allows organizations to accurately record and map the skills of their people.  

When organizations introduce the right software to maintain accurate skills data at scale across their workforce, they achieve a powerful dataset to analyze current skills gaps, likely future challenges, and other related trends. These detailed and powerful insights further allow them to design more effective skilling programs that cover the right topics and learning interventions targeted to specific groups. It also helps them to better assess successes and refine skills programs as they evolve. 

 Aligning digital skilling to career journeys 

Successful skilling initiatives require employee buy-in and good levels of adoption. To drive the desired adoption of a skilling initiative, employees need to see “what’s in it for them”. When staff can see a clear link between acquiring new skills and their career and personal growth, they are compelled to embrace learning.  

 The best way to do this is to establish clear learning paths that show potential progression in terms of career opportunities and how these link to specific skills. When these learning paths are shaped around each individual, that’s when the magic happens, with learners far more likely to buy-in and adopt skilling programs. 

Starting your digital transformation journey  

From our experience working with clients around the world, we believe that a holistic approach to skilling is the best approach. This includes analysis of an organization’s skilling needs, roadmaps for both individual career pathways, and overarching, goal-oriented business learning strategies.  

We’ve already provided digital skilling training to over 5,000 people in Qatar through the Digital Center of Excellence and are committed to helping Qatari businesses succeed in the digital age.  

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Contact us for more information on the innovative solutions Elev8 is carrying out in the Middle East.