How an increased reliance on technology is impacting talent

By Robert Half on 27th August 2019

Digitisation of business is taking the UAE by storm as the 4th industrial revolution approaches. New technologies such as AI, big data, enhanced analytics and cloud solutions are fuelling spending as businesses strive to increase operational efficiencies, agility and to enhance customer experiences. 

The digitisation of business is already driving tangible benefits within the UAE region. Economic growth was 3.7% for 2018 and is expected to outperform by 3.5% this year — much of this success has been chalked up to the thriving digital economy

Business leaders don’t just predict a positive impact for growth and revenue; according to our latest research over half (55%) of them also believe that increased reliance on technology will be ‘very positive’ for employees, too. 

Here are some of the ways that talent attraction is impacted by an increased reliance on technology in business and how they can be leveraged during the hiring process.

Talent attraction through digital training

Investing in new technologies isn’t enough.  Employee skills will need to be adapted alongside attitudes and approaches to work in order to fully capitalise on the value of the investment. This is something business leaders will need to consider for existing staff and new hires.

“Employers looking to implement new and current technology into their business processes will need to consider how to adapt and the long-term effects of this on their workforce.”

Gareth El Mettouri, UAE Associate Director at Robert Half

Our research has found that 36% of survey respondents believed that failing to train employees on new technologies can become a barrier to technological innovation. It can lead to feelings of alienation and resistance to the changes brought on by digitisation.  

Luckily, digital training is seen by both new and existing employees as an attractive incentive. Our research found more than one in three (36%) of employers were using training as a tool for attracting talent.

Role transformation offers new opportunities

New technologies aren’t just transforming businesses, they also transform roles. Advanced analytics, AI and automation are removing manual, time-consuming processes from workloads and strip out many traditional daily tasks. According to 40% of UAE business leaders, this allows employees to focus on more high-value work.

The offer of new roles can serve to polarise from a talent acquisition perspective. Although there are candidates who will welcome the opportunity to embrace a new role, there are those who enjoy the comfort of traditional tasks and responsibilities.

Technology fosters better company culture

Culture is an important lure when attracting talent to your business. Our research into happiness at work isolated it as one of the factors employees and experts consider essential for long-term workplace happiness.

Many business leaders believe that collaboration between employees and departments becomes enhanced with the addition of new technologies into workflows and processes. Better collaboration could help to form better working relationships and therefore better overall morale. 

Gareth El Mettouri also believes that new technologies can be used to enhance company culture, but says adequate preparation is needed first:

“Companies that are prepared for the effect of rising technologies within a business environment place themselves in a better position to adapt and move forward with their future goals. By creating a culture that embraces digitisation business leaders are making an appealing working environment to current employees and to new hires.”

Identifying new skills

When it comes to the employee skills that business leaders are searching for, over three in five (63%) want candidates to have good technological understanding already established. Many also expect new staff to have the skills needed for technological innovation, so they can advance with digitisation plans while also upskilling their own teams through association. 

Unfortunately, specific or advanced digital skills are a rare find in the current hiring market and may be why qualified talent is so hard to locate. To prevent reliance on technology from impeding hiring plans, it may be better to hire for soft skills and cultural fit, then offer training to new candidates.

The outcome: reliance on technology and talent attraction

As the digitisation of business takes hold what are the key takeaways for employers when attracting talent? The perceived benefits long-term may be positive, but employees will need support in reaching that final end goal. 

Investment must be made towards enhancing employee skills and in the promotion of a culture of adaptation in order for the business to present itself as a sustainable and attractive opportunity for top talent.

For more information on must-have employee skills, digital initiatives and more, please download the Robert Half Salary Guide.

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