Future of Jobs: Technology, green transition to drive opportunities

Future of Jobs: Technology, green transition to drive opportunities
A Saudi trader observes the stock market on monitors at Falcom stock exchange agency in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Feb. 7, 2018. (Reuters)
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Updated 01 May 2023

Future of Jobs: Technology, green transition to drive opportunities

Future of Jobs: Technology, green transition to drive opportunities
  • World Economic Forum report highlights must-have skills for next five years
  • Training workers to use AI, big data will be prioritized by 42% of firms

DUBAI: The job churn in Saudi Arabia is expected to be 23 percent over the next five years, in line with the global average as 23 percent of jobs are expected to change by 2027, with 69 million new jobs created and 83 million eliminated, according to the latest Future of Jobs report by the World Economic Forum.

The fourth edition of the report, which maps the jobs and skills of the future and tracks the pace of change, aims to analyze how macro trends and technology adoption will transform labor markets and affect demand in the next five years.

The key drivers of job growth are macro trends such as green transition, environmental, social and governance standards, and the localization of supply chains.

On the other hand, high inflation, slower economic growth and supply shortages are the economic challenges resulting from the dwindling of jobs.

As more companies adopt new technologies and accelerate digitization, the job market will see a significant churn.

Advancements in technology, particularly in large language models such as ChatGPT, have caused some to be concerned about AI’s potential to overtake humans, resulting in the loss of jobs.

However, the report said there will be an overall net positive in job creation.

Still, it is worth noting that traits such as reasoning, communicating and coordinating — better suited to humans than machines — are expected to be more automated in the future.

AI, for example, which is expected to be adopted by nearly 75 percent of companies, is estimated to lead to high churn with 25 percent of organizations expecting it to create job losses and 50 percent expecting it to create job growth.

“For people around the world, the past three years have been filled with upheaval and uncertainty for their lives and livelihoods, with COVID-19, geopolitical and economic shifts, and the rapid advancement of AI and other technologies now risks adding more uncertainty,” said Saadia Zahidi, managing director of the WEF.

“The good news is that there is a clear way forward to ensure resilience.”

Unsurprisingly, the fastest growing roles are those being driven by technology and digitization. In Saudi Arabia, AI and machine learning specialists are the top roles for business transformation.

Similarly, among industries in the Kingdom, big data analytics is the technology most likely to drive industry transformation (48 percent), followed by digital platforms and apps (45 percent), encryption and cybersecurity (43 percent) and AI (41 percent).

Globally, the employment of data analysts and scientists, big data specialists, AI machine learning specialists and cybersecurity professionals is expected to grow on average by 30 percent in the next five years.

The increased potential of technology will create jobs in the long term, the report said, but it must be accompanied by reskilling and upskilling talent to better suit the evolving job economy.

Training workers to utilize AI and big data will be prioritized by 42 percent of companies in the next five years, ranking behind analytical thinking (48 percent) and creative thinking (43 percent).

The need for reskilling is evident in the report, with companies reporting that skills gaps and an inability to attract talent are the key barriers to transformation.

Six in 10 workers will require training before 2027, and on average, 44 percent of an individual worker’s skills will need to be updated.

Currently, there is a gap between individuals’ skills and companies’ needs and the responsibility of bridging this gap falls on companies and governments, the report said, with 45 percent of surveyed businesses saying that government funding for skills training would help provide more employment opportunities for talent.

For example, according to research conducted by LinkedIn for the report, despite continued growth in green jobs in the past four years, reskilling and upskilling toward green skills are not moving at the same pace.

Investment in climate-related areas and increasing consumer awareness around sustainability are resulting in new job opportunities in the fields of green energy and agriculture.

The strongest factor contributing to job creation in these fields is investment that facilitates the green transition of businesses, with more than 50 percent of organizations surveyed expecting it.

Moreover, as countries shift to more renewable energy sources, jobs such as renewable energy engineers and solar energy installation and systems engineers will be in high demand, according to the report.

Investment will also drive growth more broadly in roles such as sustainability specialists and environmental protection professionals, which are expected to grow by 33 percent and 34 percent respectively.

Jobs for agricultural professionals, especially agricultural equipment operators, graders and sorters, are expected to see a 15 to 30 percent increase, leading to an additional 4 million jobs.

“The sustained growth of green jobs is really great news, particularly for job seekers who are facing upheaval in the labor market,” said Sue Duke, head of Global Public Policy at LinkedIn.

However, LinkedIn’s data shows that despite a “strong demand for talent with green skills, people are not developing green skills at anywhere near a fast enough rate to meet climate targets,” Duke said.

It is a similar story in the field of education, where jobs are expected to grow by about 10 percent, leading to 3 million additional jobs for vocational education teachers and university and higher education teachers.

While demand for social jobs such as those in health and education has grown faster during the pandemic, these job openings are harder to fill than others, according to the employment website Indeed.

“We believe we must continue to embrace AI and technology to help job seekers and employers as we navigate near-term macroeconomic headwinds and long-term labor market challenges,” said Hisayuki Idekoba, president and CEO of Indeed’s parent company, Recruit Holdings.

The company was anticipating a labor shortage for “many years ahead” across several sectors as “the population ages,” he said.

“Therefore, it is essential that we identify new ways to simplify the hiring process to support a thriving economy and society where everyone can prosper together,” Idekoba said.

It is good news then that four in five surveyed companies plan to invest in learning and training on the job in the next five years.

The value of human capital and skills is only increasing with strong cognitive skills being increasingly valued by employers.

Globally, companies see analytical thinking and creative thinking as the most important skills in 2023, and this is expected to remain so in the next five years. Skills related to technological literacy, specifically AI and big data, will become more important and in the next five years.

In Saudi Arabia, analytical thinking is the skill most prioritized for reskilling and upskilling in the next five years, with 55 percent of companies saying so, followed by AI and big data (52 percent).

Zahidi said: “Governments and businesses must invest in supporting the shift to the jobs of the future through the education, reskilling and social support structures that can ensure individuals are at the heart of the future of work.”

Riyadh, Doha sign multiple deals across various sectors

Riyadh, Doha sign multiple deals across various sectors
Updated 7 sec ago

Riyadh, Doha sign multiple deals across various sectors

Riyadh, Doha sign multiple deals across various sectors

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and Qatar have signed multiple agreements and memorandums of understanding as both nations continue to strengthen their relationship. 

These deals, which are expected to enhance trade and economic relationships between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, were signed during the 44th Gulf Cooperation Council Summit in Doha on Tuesday. 

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund and the Qatar Investment Authority signed an MoU to accelerate investments in the energy and infrastructure sector, according to a report by the Qatar News Agency.

Another MoU was signed between Saudi Arabia’s Digital Government Authority and Qatar’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to promote cooperation between the two nations in the field of digital governance. 

Saudi Arabia’s Prince Saud Al-Faisal Institute for Diplomatic Studies signed an additional MoU with Qatar’s Diplomatic Institute of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to cooperate in the field of diplomatic training. 

The Saudi Central Bank, also known as SAMA, signed an MoU with its counterpart in Qatar for cooperation between financial institutions. 

Another agreement was signed between the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property and Qatar’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry to further collaborate in the field of intellectual property. 

An additional cooperation agreement was signed between the Saudi Broadcasting Authority and Qatar Media Corporation to develop relations in the radio and television industries. 

The two countries also signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation in the fields of sports. 

On Dec.4, foreign ministers of Qatar and Saudi Arabia held a meeting in Doha to develop bilateral relations. 

“Today we held the first meeting of the executive committee of the Qatari-Saudi Coordination Council in Doha, where we discussed ways to develop bilateral relations within the framework of the executive committee,” said Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, who is also the country’s prime minister. 

During the meeting, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and Al-Thani discussed ways to deepen cooperation in areas of mutual interest. 

COP28 president hails global leaders’ practical initiatives at final dialogue

COP28 president hails global leaders’ practical initiatives at final dialogue
Updated 05 December 2023

COP28 president hails global leaders’ practical initiatives at final dialogue

COP28 president hails global leaders’ practical initiatives at final dialogue

RIYADH: COP28 President Sultan Al-Jaber has applauded world leaders for their practical initiatives during the final dialogue, expressing optimism for the continued “open mindset” throughout the remainder of COP.  

This comes as high-level dialogues between the COP28 Presidency and the International Energy Agency received a strong endorsement of practical actions. 

The conclusion of the dialogues, co-chaired by Al-Jaber and the executive director of the IEA, Fatih Birol, marked a significant achievement, bringing together over 40 high-level leaders, including four heads of state and 18 heads of delegation and ministers from diverse regions.  

Al-Jaber said: “I am encouraged by the practical actions brought forward by world leaders today at the final dialogue, and I hope that you take this open mindset and optimism throughout this COP.” 

Addressing the significance of the dialogues, Al-Jaber emphasized the need for collaboration, stating: “This series of dialogues has allowed us to converge on the critical elements of the just energy transition. The transition will not be straightforward, but it will be harder if we cannot agree on its central components.”  

Birol echoed this sentiment, expressing satisfaction at the alignment and support for the IEA’s five goals for COP28.  

These goals include tripling renewable capacity and doubling energy efficiency by 2030, a structured decline in fossil fuel use, commitment from the oil and gas industry to align with 1.5 degrees, and financing mechanisms for clean energy in developing countries. 

The leaders showed strong support for the COP28 presidency’s Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge, with over 110 countries signing up to the initiative.   

Urgency on the coal front emerged as a key consensus, with a focus not only on preventing new unabated coal plants but also on accelerating the retirement of existing facilities. 

As the final dialogue unfolded during the World Climate Action Summit as part of COP28 in Dubai, heads of state, government leaders, and international organizations convened to solidify their commitment to an orderly energy transition.  

Al-Jaber urged participants to carry the open mind and optimism demonstrated during the final dialogue throughout COP28, reinforcing the importance of collective action in addressing the pressing challenges of our time.  

This positive momentum sets the stage for further deliberations and collaborative efforts at COP28 UAE, hosted at Expo City Dubai till Dec. 12. 

Global Leadership Summit: Top decision-makers discuss real estate trends in Riyadh

Global Leadership Summit: Top decision-makers discuss real estate trends in Riyadh
Updated 05 December 2023

Global Leadership Summit: Top decision-makers discuss real estate trends in Riyadh

Global Leadership Summit: Top decision-makers discuss real estate trends in Riyadh

RIYADH: Real estate leaders and decision-makers from over 110 countries have assembled in Riyadh to exchange knowledge, share best practices, and explore the latest domestic and international developments in the sector.

The International Real Estate Federation’s 42nd edition of the Global Leadership Summit brought together over 30 speakers under the theme “Resilience for Growth,” featuring high-level sessions with keynote presentations and roundtables addressing critical issues affecting the industry.   

Endorsed by FIABCI and organized by the Eyes of Cities, the event is scheduled to run from Dec. 4 to 7 in Riyadh.

Saudi Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing Majel Al-Hogail used his address to the gatherting to highlight the Kingdom’s pioneering real estate initiatives.

“In Saudi Arabia, we are working to develop two segments. We aim to develop our human (capital) and our real estate. Humans are the building blocks for a great nation and transformation,” Al-Hogail said. 

He further explained that the Kingdom’s human capital serves as a catalyst for the ongoing development and initiatives reshaping the economy. 

“In the heart of this transformation, the Kingdom witnesses a flourishing real estate sector across different projects anticipated on a global level,” the minister added.  

Al-Hogail emphasized that the Kingdom’s ongoing transformative agenda, Vision 2030, is already underway, thanks to grand real estate projects like NEOM, the Line, and Oxagon. 

Furthermore, Mohammad Al-Suliman, the CEO of Saudi Arabia’s Real Estate Registry, highlighted Vision 2030’s impact on the Kingdom’s sector. 

“Vision 2030 is mapping a new era of real estate, which can be navigated by elevating home ownership, achieving investment attractiveness, streamlining digital services, and securing investments,” Al-Suliman said during the event.  

Moreover, Abdullah Al-Hammad, CEO of Saudi Arabia’s Real Estate General Authority, shed light on the Kingdom’s approach to boosting its property industry. 

“The Kingdom’s real estate sector holds immense potential, supported by robust legislation and governmental support. This framework, along with the sector’s ability to promptly address challenges, makes it highly promising,” Al-Hammad said.  

During the discussion, other international leaders, including Budiarsa Sastrawinata, the president of FIABCI, highlighted the significant impact of real estate on national development. 

Sastrawinata further applauded the Kingdom’s developments and its hosting of such an event, which is set to bolster investment opportunities and prosperity in the sector. 

Tony Blair, former UK prime minister and founder of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, also highlighted the Kingdom’s developments. 

“Saudi Arabia can become a demonstration of what strong leadership with a clear sense of direction can achieve. The developments here show the potential for real change,” Blair said during the event.  

Closing Bell: Saudi main index loses 48 points to close at 11,144 

Closing Bell: Saudi main index loses 48 points to close at 11,144 
Updated 05 December 2023

Closing Bell: Saudi main index loses 48 points to close at 11,144 

Closing Bell: Saudi main index loses 48 points to close at 11,144 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index turned red on Tuesday, as it shed 47.56 points, or 0.42 percent, to close at 11,143.83.  

The total trading turnover of the benchmark index was SR5.86 billion ($1.56 billion) as 98 of the stocks advanced, while 119 declined.  

The Kingdom’s parallel market, Nomu, also slipped with the index shedding 97.22 points to close at 24,003.59.  

The MSCI Tadawul Index edged down by 0.46 percent to close at 1,433.85.  

The top performers on the main index were mainly insurance firms, with the best-performing stock being Saudi Enaya Cooperative Insurance Co. The company’s share price soared by 9.90 percent to SR15.32. 

Other top performers on the main index were LIVA Insurance Co. and Amana Cooperative Insurance Co. whose share prices surged by 8.56 percent and 8.32 percent, respectively.  

The worst performer of the day was Development Works Food Co., as its share price tumbled by 9.79 percent to SR118.  

Meanwhile, the share price of Riyadh Cement Co., which started its trading on the main market today, went up by 0.14 percent to SR34.85.  

The best performers on the parallel market were Naseej for Technology Co. and Bena Steel Industries Co. whose share prices edged up by 11.86 percent and 8.78 percent, respectively.  

On the announcements front, KEIR International Co. said it has signed a 21-month contract worth SR48 million with National Grid SA to connect Al-Aridh Bulk Supply Point with the 132-kilovolt network in Riyadh.  

According to a Tadawul statement, KEIR International will carry out tasks related to high-voltage 132 kV underground cable installation, station protection, communications, and the implementation of remote-control systems.  

The company further noted that the financial impact of this deal will be visible from the first quarter of 2024 until the fourth quarter of 2025.  

KEIR International added that there are no related parties to the deal.  

ROSHN targets doubling energy efficiency of homes

ROSHN targets doubling energy efficiency of homes
Updated 05 December 2023

ROSHN targets doubling energy efficiency of homes

ROSHN targets doubling energy efficiency of homes

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s national real estate developer ROSHN is targeting a 50 percent reduction in its homes’ energy bills, according to a company head.

The firm’s Director of Sustainability Waleed Al-Ghamdi spoke with Arab News on the sidelines of the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference, noting that the company is averaging 18 percent less energy consumption compared to the required building code in the Kingdom.

As a subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund, the entity has been mandated to develop sustainable urban communities with about 400,000 homes as part of the Vision 2030 plan laid by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

Al-Ghamdi said: “Our typical buildings or typical homes that we design, our customers save on average about 18 percent energy compared to the Saudi building code. 

“So, we are above and beyond what the legal requirements are. The same applies to water. The same applies to our accessibility to public spaces and proximity to daily services.” 

To attain a 50 percent decrease goal, the company is facilitating purchasing agreements for new technologies and partnerships while ensuring that the purchasing price for the customer remains unaffected.

The company’s presence at COP28, as part of the region’s delegation, serves as a means to “keep abreast of what is happening on the global scene,” said the director.

“We build communities within existing cities. So our integration is important in addition to scouting and understanding what’s happening with friends and peers and vendors and suppliers, and also being abreast of what the trends are moving forward, specifically when it comes to decarbonization and also financing of those,” Al-Ghamdi added.

The company is mandated to build infrastructure and public amenities alongside the homes within its developments. This leads to a large supply chain that depends significantly on multiple vendors, and enforcing sustainability standards down the supply chain proves to be a challenge, he explained.

“Sustainability in the supply chain is not something easy for any company globally to manage. But one of the ways that we try to manage that is through signing certain partnerships with the suppliers and vendors within the region and helping them improve,” said Al-Ghamdi.