News: 48% Middle East CEOs concerned over economic sustainability without Gen AI evolution

Skilling

48% Middle East CEOs concerned over economic sustainability without Gen AI evolution

The survey conducted in 11 territories of the Middle East region reveals that threats like geopolitical risks, cybersecurity, the impact of Gen AI, and workforce capabilities are among the top concerns of CEOs in the region for the next three years.
48% Middle East CEOs concerned over economic sustainability without Gen AI evolution

73% of Middle East CEOs forecast improved regional growth with Gen AI, resilient mindset, and capability building, according to 27th Annual CEO survey conducted by PwC covering 4,702 CEOs across 105 countries. 

The survey, focusing on the impact of Gen AI, reinvention, geopolitical threats, and climate change over the last five years, provides an outlook for the years ahead. According to the survey findings, about 72% of CEOs in the Middle East believe that the workforce needs Gen AI to develop new skills in the next three years. Only 69% of global CEOs and those in the GCC agreed with the statement. An equal share of CEOs are optimistic about the potential impact of Gen AI, believing that it will significantly change the way their companies create, deliver, and capture value in the next three years. However, 48% of Middle East CEOs raised economic viability concerns if the companies do not evolve, which is 35% higher than last year.

Additional key findings from the survey reveal:

Competitive edge - 66% of Middle East CEOs are confident of revenue growth in 2024, compared to 47% of global CEOs anticipating growth in their own organisations. They believe Gen AI can enhance the quality of their company’s products and services. Additionally, more than two-thirds of CEOs believe that Gen AI adoption can give their organisations a significant competitive advantage.

Ali Hosseini, Chief Technology Officer, PwC Middle East said, “GenAI is one the biggest disruptors to have emerged recently. The Middle East is proving to be a pioneer “in this new frontier, and companies across the region will benefit from early adoption as they continue to reinvent and seize the transformation opportunities Gen AI offers.”

Resilient mindset - Geopolitical threats are strongly positioned on the risk agenda, as 71% of Middle East CEOs feel their companies are highly exposed. Meanwhile, 38% of them consider inflation a key threat to their organisations over the next 12 months, partly driven by concerns over geopolitical conflict, and 30% see cybersecurity risks as a key threat as organisations are exposed to new digital vulnerabilities through continued innovation in emerging digital economies.

Workforce Capability Building - Approximately a quarter of CEOs are hopeful that Gen AI will create additional jobs rather than destroy them in the next 12 months. 

  • Given the optimism toward the potential of Gen AI, 77% of CEOs believe that it can enhance their work efficiency, while 74% of CEOs believe it can improve their employees’ work efficiency.
  • 73% of them believe that, to take advantage, organisations in the region need to develop a proactive approach towards skills development and education. This will be crucial for preparing the workforce for future opportunities, as new roles will be created, given the increasing commitment to making Gen AI accessible to everyone.

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Reinvention imperative - The survey finds that 48% of CEOs in the Middle East believe their companies won’t be viable in the next 10 years if they continue on their current path. This is necessary as the region undergoes massive digital transformation to digitise, decarbonize, localise, privatise, and modernise. This also highlights that 40% of regional leaders developed new products and services, and 53% adopted new technologies in the last five years. Additionally, 61% of them consider technological change as the most important driver for reinvention for the creation, delivery, and capture of value in the next three years."

Commenting on the survey results, Hani Ashkar, Middle East Senior Partner, PwC Middle East said, “The past year served as a transitional period for the global economy. Despite slower global growth rates, the Middle East has displayed resilience, as countries have accelerated digital transformation and strengthened their non-oil sectors, creating employment opportunities.

Businesses in the Middle East are proactively evolving through advanced technologies, including GenAI, and displaying a greater awareness of issues, such as climate change. This indicates significant confidence and a commitment to reshaping our region for sustained outcomes, added Hani

The key focus areas identified to becoming a thriving organisation in the Middle East are:

  • Adopting a growth strategy, emphasising a holistic technology transformation, scaling technology usage, fostering organisational agility, and training the workforce for future capabilities
  • Middle East leaders should prioritise upskilling their workforce to unleash its limitless potential, coupled with responsible deployment to address privacy, safety, and security concerns.
  • Leaders should take a proactive role in advancing their commitment to addressing the climate crisis, recognising that, while governments establish the groundwork, it is crucial for the private sector to demonstrate its dedication to mitigating the environmental impact of their organisations by integrating sustainability into core business strategies.
  • In the face of a dynamic geopolitical landscape, Leaders need to stay vigilant, integrating thorough geopolitical risk assessments into business plans for sustained operational success.
  • To address inflation, leaders must promptly adopt cost control measures and maintain customer management. Furthermore, cybersecurity should be prioritised, with leaders implementing robust security features to safeguard operations against potential breaches as businesses scale.
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Topics: Skilling, Strategic HR, #HRCommunity, #HRTech, #Artificial Intelligence

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