A rising demand for digital talent in the Middle East

A rising demand

2020 is well underway and consumer habits in the MENA region are changing more rapidly than ever before. The demand for digital has never been higher. Consumers in the region require variety, speed and a flawless experience. It is becoming increasingly harder for businesses to secure the right talent to develop the best solutions.

The main challenge, which is affecting organisations of all sizes is, how to outline a digital plan and vision that aligns and compliments existing company goals and objectives and then to create a strategy that everyone – from shareholders to end users – can buy in to and contribute to.

Executive professionals who are able to educate relevant stakeholders and acquire buy-in for investment of time and resource in the form of chief digital officers, are the most requested talent for headhunters across the Middle East.

Along with the rest of the world, the correct management of data is a continuous journey that organisations are finding themselves on. This is no longer about number crunching. Data management roles doubled from 2017-2019 in the MENA region and due to a lack of local talent able to demonstrate their ability to engage with business to enforce effective governance and strategy, organisations were forced to look overseas. Salaries in this space have also increased by an average of 20% over the last two years as a direct consequence of increasing demand, completion and the lack of available talent.

Five years ago, data science and analytics barely existed in the Middle East. Now it is one of the most requested skill sets across most sectors and industries. This is also one profession that experiences more cross-industry movement than any other. As an example, an analytics director could move from banking to retail and still be sought after by a medical provider. Salary increases in this area have perhaps not been as substantial as that of data management but the demand for such skills are still very vast and the complexity of what is required is increasing.

The need to develop more effective and measureable strategies is increasing the complexity of product manager roles in rapidly advancing digital businesses. The demand for these roles has increased by 20% in the last year, whilst salary increases have been near to a 10% rise on average in the same amount of time, with talent being sourced locally. During the next two to four years, it is very likely that the demand for such skills will rise along with the benefit mechanisms associated with the position. This is even more certain if the hiring focus remains on top talent with local market knowledge.

Consumers expect the same or better quality to what is available in the global markets – when it comes to interface and safety. Companies in this region have fully utilized external consumer support in developing these interfaces for years. There is now a trend of taking more ownership and controlling development – along with the design.

Cyber security recruitment in the Middle East has grown in activity of specialist head-hunters by over 100% in the last five years. It’s no longer just the banks who value the importance of having a chief information security officer, a sophisticated SOC operation and other interesting roles within the space. Organizations across a range of industrial and service-based industries plus government institutions are investing heavily in top talent. Whist the increase of roles in the region is growing exponentially, the proximity of highly skilled technical professionals in the Middle East from overseas with lower salary expectations, is helping to steady the increase of investment required by businesses to compete for top talent. Whilst cyber service salaries are increasing across the board, the average rate has only been 5% per year for the last three years.