UAE employees are increasingly turning to technology to support their career development in the post-pandemic era with 96 per cent polled in a survey by Oracle saying they intend to use it to fuel their careers.
Only 85 per cent of workers surveyed worldwide intend to use technology more often to achieve their future goals in the post-Covid era, the study by software firm Oracle and consultancy Workplace Intelligence — that collected 14,600 responses from managers, human resource leaders and senior executives across 13 countries between July and August this year — showed.
Nearly 42 per cent of UAE workers polled aim to use technology to identify future skills they need to develop and 38 per cent want technology to suggest next steps they need to take to achieve their career goals.
More than nine in 10 UAE respondents, compared with 82 per cent globally, believe robots can support their career growth better than humans. More than 38 per cent also believe robots can support their careers better than a human, by giving unbiased recommendations, quickly answering questions about their career and finding new jobs that fit their current skills.
The continued uncertainty caused by the pandemic has left many workers in emotional turmoil, feeling like their lives and careers are out of control, the survey found. Globally, employees surveyed said the Covid-19 pandemic has had a negative effect, with 29 per cent saying they are struggling financially and 28 per cent reporting poorer mental health.
Another 25 per cent reported lacking career motivation and 23 per cent said they feel disconnected from their own lives. the survey showed.
“The last year set a new course for the future of work … [amid] the stress, anxiety and loneliness of the global pandemic, employees found their voice became more empowered and are now speaking up for what they want,” said Yvette Cameron, senior vice president of Oracle cloud human capital management.
“The evolving nature of the workplace shifted the way people think about success and reset people’s expectations for how organisations can best support them,” said Ms Cameron.
Nearly 66 per cent of UAE respondents struggled with mental health at work more this year than in 2020, the survey said.
Around 52 per cent of global employees said this was their most stressful year at work.
In the UAE now, the top priorities are work-life balance (42 per cent), mental health (40 per cent) and workplace flexibility (40 per cent), in line with the global average.
To attract and retain talent, businesses need to place a higher priority on helping employees identify and develop new skills and provide personalised career journeys so they can feel in control of their careers again, said Ms Cameron.
Despite struggles over the last year, people around the world are eager to make changes in their professional lives.
Going into 2022, professional development is among the top priorities of UAE professionals. Many are willing to give up key benefits such as holiday time (71 per cent), monetary bonuses (69 per cent) and even part of their salary (66 per cent) for better career opportunities.
Almost three quarters of respondents are more likely to stay with a company that uses advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence to support career growth.
While there have been a lot of challenges for both employees and employers, this has been an opportunity to change the workplace for the better, said Dan Schawbel, managing partner at Workplace Intelligence.
“The results clearly show that investment in skills and career development is now a key differentiator for employers as it plays a significant role in employees feeling like they have control over their personal and professional lives.”
“Businesses that invest in their employees and help them find opportunities will reap the benefits of a productive, engaged workforce,” Mr Schawbel said.