WEF: Experts call for reskilling of global workforce as job losses threaten to outpace growth

WEF: Experts call for reskilling of global workforce as job losses threaten to outpace growth
WEF’s report predicts that the fastest-growing jobs in the next five years will be in artificial intelligence.
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Updated 03 May 2023
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WEF: Experts call for reskilling of global workforce as job losses threaten to outpace growth

WEF: Experts call for reskilling of global workforce as job losses threaten to outpace growth
  • WEF Future of Jobs 2023 predicts in next five years 23 percent of jobs will be disrupted
  • Collaboration, self-learning are key to future labor market success, UAE education ministry says

GENEVA: Experts on Tuesday called for urgent reskilling and upskilling of the global workforce, warning that major changes to the world of work in the next few years will see job losses outpace growth.

 Economists, ministers and policymakers gathered in Geneva, Switzerland, on the first day of the World Economic Forum’s “Growth Summit: Jobs and Opportunities for All” to discuss the state of the job market and future opportunities and challenges ahead.

During the event, Saadia Zahidi, managing director at the WEF, argued that looking at macro-trends such as advancement of technology, green transition and shifting supply chain, over the next few years “about a quarter of the jobs that currently exist will be disrupted in some form of the other.”

She said that although some jobs would be lost and others added, the picture “seems manageable, provided that we focus on the reskilling and upskilling of workers. The future of jobs may be disruptive, but it need not be dystopian.”

According to a new report released on Sunday by WEF, within the next five years 23 percent of jobs will be disrupted, with an estimated 83 million roles disappearing and only 69 million emerging, equal to a net decrease of 14 million jobs, or 2 percent of current employment.

The “Future of Jobs 2023” report suggests that while certain sectors such as green transition and localization of supply chains will create new jobs, economic challenges — such as high inflation, slower economic growth and supply shortages — represent the greatest threat.

WEF’s report predicts that the fastest-growing jobs in the next five years will be in artificial intelligence and machine learning while the largest is expected in education, agriculture and digital commerce.

These jobs include technology specialists, sustainability specialists, business intelligence analysts and information security specialists.

But as Kirsten Salyer, head of editorial strategy and thought leadership at WEF pointed out during one of the panels, “the report found that one of the greatest barrier to business transformation is the skill gap.”

Over the past few months, the rapid advancement of generative AI technology has been seen as a threat to the labor market, particularly in the service sector.

However, in reality, the report indicates how technological advancement represents both a challenge and an opportunity and, ultimately, an overall net positive in job creation.

“AI is going to change every job, how we do it, in the service sector, but will not eliminate many jobs,” argued Richard Baldwin, professor of international economics at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.

“It is essentially ‘wisdom in a can’ giving more power to all workers, but especially those average workers. I think it would be uplifting for the middle class but would be extremely disruptive in the sense that every job will change.”

“What I say on Twitter all the time is: AI will not take your job, it is somebody using AI that will take your job. So you better learn how to use AI,” Baldwin said.

Human capital development, including reskilling, upskilling and transforming the educational sector to ensure resilience, was one of the central topics of discussion at the WEF summit on Tuesday.

Zahidi was among those who stressed the importance of a better framework to support the transition to the jobs of the future, saying that “governments and businesses must invest in supporting the shift . . . through the education, reskilling and social support structures that can ensure individuals are at the heart of the future of work.”

UAE Minister of Education Ahmad Belhoul Al-Falasi also reiterated the importance of strengthening collaboration between the different entities to better prepare the workforce for the future labor market.

He argued that while it was difficult to predict what skills would be required by the labor market in the future, the focus should be on preparing people to be lifelong learners, highly adaptable, and aware that their jobs will drastically change.

Al-Falasi talked about how his country was moving toward “instilling that capacity of self-learning much earlier in the process.”

“You want to push that responsibility more to the students by allowing them to take choices at an early age and allowing them to self-learn at a younger age,” he said.

Al-Falasi said that the proliferation of digital technology has made it easier to provide digital learning content.

Many of the discussions also turned to the importance of ensuring jobs that dignify and protect the rights of workers.

Younes Sekkouri, Morocco’s minister of economic inclusion, small business, employment and skills, stressed the importance of considering not only skills but also the added value that jobs brought to people.

He said that talent retention would be a key challenge for policymakers and businesses to address, particularly in developing countries.

The WEF is an international non-governmental organization committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation.

Each year, the WEF hosts two major events: the Annual Meeting and the Growth Summit, where global leaders from business, government and civil society convene to discuss some of the world’s most pressing issues.

The 2023 Growth Summit brings together experts from diverse sectors to discuss three core themes: Enabling resilient growth, developing human capital, and accelerating economic equity.
 


Ministry of Economy and Planning signs MoU with Saudi National Institute of Health

Representatives of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Economy and Planning and the Saudi National Institute of Health sign a MoU.
Representatives of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Economy and Planning and the Saudi National Institute of Health sign a MoU.
Updated 29 February 2024
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Ministry of Economy and Planning signs MoU with Saudi National Institute of Health

Representatives of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Economy and Planning and the Saudi National Institute of Health sign a MoU.
  • MoU aims to develop and align the strategic direction of national development priorities and economic policies in line with the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Economy and Planning signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Saudi National Institute of Health, the ministry announced on Thursday.

The MoU aims to develop and align the strategic direction of national development priorities and economic policies in line with the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030.

It also aims to enable the decision-making process through the preparation of methodologies and studies, the ministry said.

As part of the MoU, scientific and hands-on experiences will be exchanged and both parties will prepare studies and research related to their work in order to improve quality.

They will also organize joint workshops and training courses to enhance capabilities and skills, and benefit from the infrastructure and public facilities of both parties.


Diriyah Co. CEO lauds Saudi efforts to empower youth

Diriyah Co. CEO lauds Saudi efforts to empower youth
Updated 29 February 2024
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Diriyah Co. CEO lauds Saudi efforts to empower youth

Diriyah Co. CEO lauds Saudi efforts to empower youth

RIYADH: Leadership and empowerment insights took center stage during a workshop at the Human Capability Initiative, with industry leaders delving into the future of Saudi Arabia’s workforce. 

In a “What If?” talk at the Riyadh event, Jerry Inzerillo, group CEO of Diriyah Co., addressed young Saudis, urging them to dream big and sharing insights from his own journey. 

He said: “Please dream big. There was nothing in between you and your dreams that you cannot accomplish.”  

Inzerillo emphasized the importance of self-esteem and dignity in leadership, signaling a departure from traditional hierarchical models toward more inclusive and empowering approaches. 

Praising the visionary leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Inzerillo expressed gratitude for the unprecedented support provided to initiatives like the Human Capability Initiative.  

Inzerillo commended the substantial investment in training and development facilitated by the crown prince, highlighting its significance in equipping the next generation with the skills necessary to navigate the challenges of an ever-evolving technological landscape.  

“In a 50-year career, I’ve never had the training and development budget that the crown prince has given us,” he remarked. 

“We are marching forward to 2030; we are marching positively. We believe in ourselves and those who will help us on our mission.”  

Inzerillo said that as of yesterday, they had 2,419 employees, with 85 percent of the staff being Saudi. 

“Now, 39 percent of our Saudi staff are women superstars. And those 39 percent of my Saudi women superstars boss me around on a daily basis more than the 61 percent of the boys.”  

The CEO shared his impressions of the young Saudi talent present at the event and said: “In New York, we have a saying, when you’re very excited, you have goosebumps. That’s the way I feel right now. Because just being backstage for a moment, and seeing all of the young talented Saudis, to me it’s like a thunderbolt of energy.” 

Inzerillo concluded with a resounding call to action, reminding every individual of their potential to contribute to the realization of Vision 2030. “Every single individual is capable of contributing to Vision 2030 and should.”  


Siemens inaugurates electrical equipment facility in Jeddah

Siemens inaugurates electrical equipment facility in Jeddah
Updated 29 February 2024
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Siemens inaugurates electrical equipment facility in Jeddah

Siemens inaugurates electrical equipment facility in Jeddah

JEDDAH: Multinational technology company Siemens unveiled its new electrical equipment factory in Jeddah in the presence of the Kingdom’s Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar Alkhorayef.

In partnership with its Saudi partner, Arabia Electric Ltd Equipment Co, the firm inaugurated the facility on Feb. 29 at the Modon Oasis in Jeddah.

The 6,000 sq. m factory produces electrical equipment such as substation automation systems, communication and protection panels, and other products for the utility, oil and gas, infrastructure, and petrochemical industries.

The facility will operate with a 120-person workforce.

In an interview with Arab News, the minister of industry highlighted that establishing factories by major international companies in the Kingdom indicates the country’s capability to accommodate diverse industries. Moreover, he underscored that “Saudi Made” branding will soon adorn Lucid automobiles.

“Saudi Arabia remains committed to its strategy as we have created a favorable environment for industrial investment, allowing industry investors to strengthen their capabilities within the Kingdom. This endeavor goes beyond serving the local market, aiming to expand exports to both the region and worldwide,” Alkhorayef said.

He added that the country industry clusters in Saudi Arabia can be divided into two types: “One is the industrial zones and the Modon Oases, like this one here in Jeddah. We are also working closely with several industries that need to exist in clusters to create a sort of integration between them, such as the car manufacturing cluster. We have previous experience in such clusters, like the ones of petrochemicals in Jubail and Yanbu.” 

He revealed that they are planning to establish a food manufacturing cluster in Jazan as well as a mineral industry cluster in Ras Al-Khair in the country’s Eastern Province.

Commenting on the inauguration of the Siemens factory in Jeddah, Alkhorayef congratulated the German company for establishing the facility.

“This move by Siemens serves as proof that the opportunities in Saudi Arabia position it as a significant hub for manufacturing companies,” he remarked, emphasizing that the electricity sector stands out as one of the largest divisions experiencing substantial growth.

The minister elaborated, stating: “We will persist in attracting numerous investments, leveraging capabilities previously imported from outside the Kingdom, and even exporting products developed within the country.”

Alkhorayef concluded his interview with Arab News by asserting that Saudi Arabia is earnestly prioritizing nationalization.

He highlighted that the country’s industrial strategy capitalizes on its inherent strengths, including robust domestic demand and abundant raw materials such as oil, gas, petrochemicals, and minerals.

Additionally, Saudi Arabia’s strategic geographical location further enhances its appeal to both local and international companies.

Ahmad Hawsawi, CEO of Siemens in Saudi Arabia, said that the company is proud to contribute to the Kingdom’s journey toward an innovative and sustainable future.

“Our new factory in Jeddah is not just a manufacturing facility; it’s a hub of innovation designed to meet the Kingdom’s growing demands for energy solutions. By deploying Siemens’ cutting-edge technologies, Saudi Arabia is set to witness unparalleled improvements in the efficiency and resilience of its energy systems.” Hawsawi said.

Eltje Aderhold, consul general of Germany, said that she is “very proud” of this cooperation between Saudi Arabia and her country.

“This project represents the good development of cooperation between Germany and Saudi Arabia, and it is a sign that we are building our future together,” she said, adding that German companies and their Saudi partners are increasingly coming together.

Aderhold further said that Germany is “very much interested in working with its Saudi partners toward Vision 2030, investing, transforming new, clean energy, protecting climate and developing new technologies.” 

The inauguration ceremony was also attended by Vice Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources for Industrial Affairs Khalil Salamah, along with executives from the Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones, the Local Content and Government Procurement Authority and the National Industrial Development Center.

Additional firms in attendance included the Saudi Electricity Co., Aramco, and SABIC, as well as Ma’aden, EA Juffali & Brothers, and other prominent government and private sector companies.

Khaled Juffali, chairman of Ebrahim A. Juffali and Brothers Group, and also a member of the Arabia Electric Equipment Co. board and Siemens in Saudi Arabia, said: “We are thrilled to open our new facility in Jeddah, which represents our strong belief in the potential of Saudi Arabia’s economic development plan.

"Our commitment goes beyond investment in infrastructure; we are here to build partnerships, support talent development, and contribute to the Kingdom’s sustainability goals according to Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.” 

 


Saudi Arabia’s first School of Public Policy to launch masters programs in September: top official 

Saudi Arabia’s first School of Public Policy to launch masters programs in September: top official 
Updated 29 February 2024
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Saudi Arabia’s first School of Public Policy to launch masters programs in September: top official 

Saudi Arabia’s first School of Public Policy to launch masters programs in September: top official 

RIYADH: The School of Public Policy at the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center will commence offering masters degree courses in September 2024, confirmed a top official. 

In an interview with Arab News, Ghadah Al-Arifi, founding dean of the school, stated that this educational institution, the first of its kind in the Kingdom, will initially attract individuals already in the job market for its new program. 

Al-Arifi said: “We have already started offering executive training and education through several programs with international and national partners. In 2023, we trained over 600 employees in the private, government and nonprofit sectors in 17 organizations.”  

On the first day of the Human Capability Initiative, KAPSARC announced obtaining an establishment license for its School of Public Policy. The school aims to set groundbreaking standards in policy studies through two-year master’s degree and executive education programs. 

“In September 2024, we will start our academic programs by offering a master’s in public policy. In terms of the master programs, we are looking to attract people who are already in the job market,” said the dean.  

To enroll in the master’s degree program, candidates are required to hold a graduate degree and demonstrate proficiency in English language skills. 

“The requirement is having a bachelor’s degree and possessing a minimum standard of English language and other types of requirements. We accept people, all graduates from all disciplines to our school,” said Al-Arifi.  

She mentioned that they have some pre-sessional courses that could help individuals lacking essential skills for success in the curriculum, adding: "We accept everyone, and we will make sure that whoever lacks some skills, we will have the right preparations for them.” 

During the discussion, Al-Arifi mentioned that the establishment of the institute aligns with the goals outlined in Vision 2030. 

“With Vision 2030, there is an urgent need to prepare public policy leaders, people working in government and private sector to work on the development evaluation and impact assessment of current and future policies. With that vision, High Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman came up with the idea to establish the first School of Public Policy in Saudi Arabia,” she noted.  

Al-Arifi further emphasized that the School of Public Policy aims to attract students, both local and international. 

“The international reputation of KAPSARC holds a lot of value in the international arena, especially in the area of energy economics and policy. We would like to leverage the expertise we have at KAPSARC,” she said.  

The dean disclosed that the curriculum offered at the school will be “fresh, new, and cutting-edge,” developed by international experts in the field of public policy. 

“When you look at our curriculum, the curriculum is infused with a lot of applied learning. A lot of that is tools, simulations and local case studies,” said Al-Arifi. 

She mentioned that the program currently comprises three distinguished tracks: public management and leadership, climate and energy policy, and data application and public policy. “We would like to expand our offering in the future.”  

During the discussion, she revealed that KAPSARC is also planning to offer a crash course for individuals working in the media sector. 

“So those media representatives, whenever they cover any news about energy, climate and sustainability, they will have the right definitions. They will have a broader understanding of the issues,” Al-Arifi concluded.  


Closing Bell: Saudi bourses end the week in green  

Closing Bell: Saudi bourses end the week in green  
Updated 29 February 2024
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Closing Bell: Saudi bourses end the week in green  

Closing Bell: Saudi bourses end the week in green  

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index rallied for the third consecutive day, gaining 19.44 points to close at 12,630.86. 

The Kingdom’s parallel market, Nomu, also rose on Thursday, gaining 110.79 points to reach 26,402.82. 

The MSCI Tadawul Index edged up by 0.06 percent to close at 1,623.68. 

The benchmark index posted a trading value of SR12.93 billion ($3.45 billion), with 97 stocks advancing and 123 declining. 

Middle East Pharmaceutical Industries Co., also known as Avalon Pharma, which debuted on Tadawul on Tuesday, was the best performer of the day. The company’s share price surged by 29.91 percent to SR179.80. 

Other top performers were Al-Rajhi Co. for Cooperative Insurance and Saudi Automotive Services Co., whose share prices soared by 10 percent and 8.77 percent, respectively. 

The worst performer was Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Co., as its share price slipped by 8.01 percent to SR8.27. 

On the announcements front, Saudi utility firm ACWA Power reported that its net profit inched up by 8 percent in 2023 to SR1.66 billion compared to the previous year. 

In a bourse filing, the company attributed the rise in profit to higher operating income from existing projects, mainly due to better plant availability. 

The company added that lower Zakat and tax charges, along with lower impairment loss and other expenses, also supported its net profit growth last year. 

In 2023, ACWA Power’s total revenue surged by 15.52 percent to SR6.09 billion compared to the preceding year. 

The statement revealed that total shareholders’ equity, after minority interest, stood at SR19.15 billion by Dec. 31, 2023, compared to SR18.65 billion a year ago. 

Meanwhile, Arabian Centers Co., also known as Cenomi Centers, announced the start of US dollar-denominated Shariah-compliant sukuk issuance.  

In a Tadawul statement, the company said that the issue value and the offer price will be determined pending the market conditions. 

On Thursday, Alinma Bank announced the completion of its dollar-denominated Additional Tier 1 capital certificates issuance at a value of $1 billion.  

The Additional Tier 1 capital certificates will be listed on the International Securities Market of the London Stock Exchange.