A recent study by Darwinbox reveals that C-level executives (CXOs) in the UAE are not only confident about their organizations’ increasing headcount over the next 1-2 years but are also overwhelmingly optimistic about revenue and profit. This positive outlook among UAE CXOs aligns with the expectations of a robust economic expansion in the region.
The UAE’s economy is set to expand by three percent this year and four percent in 2024, primarily propelled by the strong performance of the non-oil sector, according to a recent industry report.
Economic analysts believe that the increasing influx of tourists, government initiatives, and technological advancements are poised to play pivotal roles in driving the country’s economic growth. This increased growth will require a stronger talent pool and more robust digital solutions to support the HR function in UAE enterprises.
UAE Job Market
Darwinbox’s “HR Evolution Perspectives 2023” report found that 80% of UAE CXOs believe their organization will increase headcount in the next two years.
The study indicates that along with the focus on increased productivity, CXOs are also looking to hire for critical capabilities and emerging skills.
Additionally, 89% of UAE CXOs expect profitability to rise, with 89% anticipating revenue growth.
Almost three-quarters (72%) expect this growth through M&A, while 82% anticipate growth through organic expansion. As sustainability kicks into top gear, financing of green initiatives is rising, with 67% of CXOs expecting a rise in ESG investments.
Chaitanya Peddi, Co-founder of Darwinbox, said: “Undeniably, the CXOs in the UAE have an extremely positive economic outlook, and this will convert into more hiring in the coming 12-24 months. Hence, there will be more emphasis on strengthening the HR functions. HR teams must navigate a period of heightened employee expectations, a rapidly shifting digital landscape, and stakeholder pressure toward inclusive workplaces.
“The report makes no attempt to downplay these challenges; instead, it calls upon HR professionals to seize the opportunity to transform their organizations, powered by the transformative role of technology.”
Hybrid Work Models
Despite the opportunities, UAE businesses are challenged by a rapidly shifting digital landscape, remote and hybrid work models, and renewed demands for more inclusive and sustainable work practices.
UAE CXOs identified the inability to align culture and low employee productivity as a significant risk, with 38% saying their organization could not attune its corporate culture to changing business environments.
With the full force of digital transformation sweeping through the business world, 69% of CXOSs in the UAE now recognize the imperative of adapting to new digital work paradigms.
Alarmingly, 31% of them feel unprepared to effectively address this challenge, revealing a significant vulnerability. A further 31% said they cannot redefine work by effectively leveraging digital and connected teams.
Automation for HR
In response, organizations are ramping up investments in technology to improve HR’s effectiveness. In the next 12 to 24 months, 64% of UAE organizations plan to adopt robotics and automation for HR.
Additionally, 64% plan to invest in digitizing their HR Systems, while 53% plan end-to-end process redesign. As a seasoned expert who has successfully navigated the digital adoption roadmap with numerous enterprises in the region, Darwinbox is already solving for this digital adoption and finds a strong appetite for transformation in the Middle Eastern market.
Chaitanya Peddi added: “Worldwide, and particularly in the UAE, organizations are increasingly prioritizing the Digital HR agenda to enhance productivity, agility, and overall employee experience.
“At Darwinbox, we firmly believe that while identifying and implementing technology to drive efficiencies is the initial phase, the true return on investment emerges when organizations continually embrace technology and use it to adapt to evolving circumstances. Therefore, we collaborate closely with our customer base, attentively listening to their needs and delivering innovative solutions that empower them to stay ahead of the curve.”
Darwinbox’s cloud-based Human Capital Management platform caters to HR needs across the entire employee lifecycle with new-age employee experiences and disruptive AI-powered technology.
Powering 850+ enterprises across 110 countries and trusted by 2.2 million employees across the globe, the company has clocked a 2.6x revenue growth and increased its headcount by 240% in UAE since its Series D Unicorn funding round in January 2022. The company has opened its regional office at Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).
Darwinbox’s “HR Evolution Perspectives 2023” study provides an in-depth analysis of what companies and employees expect from HR today and how equipped HR departments are to handle it. The survey was carried out in collaboration with People Matters, the study gathered responses from over 1,200 HR practitioners and around 1,500 employees in Southeast Asia, India, and the Middle East. Online surveys took place between February and May of this year.